Overview: people granted refugee status or subsidiary protection or permission to remain
Asylum seekers who have been granted international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) or permission to remain have the right to live and work in Ireland. In most cases, this will mean leaving direct provision accommodation to find work and somewhere to live. The change from direct provision to living independently may involve a number of issues including housing, employment, health services, managing money and social welfare.
On 6 August 2020, the Government announced that the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is now available to people living in direct provision centres, as well as applicants for international protection who live in the community outside the direct provision system. You must meet the conditions of the scheme to qualify.
Workers living in direct provision who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have been advised to self-isolate, can access the COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit.
If you have been living in a direct provision accommodation centre, you will have to leave that centre and move into other accommodation. This could be in social housing (public housing) or in private rented housing. If you were already living in private rented accommodation, your change of status will not affect your immediate housing situation.
If you find yourself homeless, there are agencies that provide services for homeless people.
When you are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection or permission to remain, you should apply for any social welfare payments for which you are eligible. You will satisfy the habitual residence condition, but you will have to meet other conditions. Your local social welfare office or Intreo centre will help you to apply for the correct payment for your situation. For example:
- If you are able to work but are unemployed, you may get Jobseeker’s Allowance. Our checklist for unemployed people has links to information about services and entitlements for unemployed people.
- If you are unable to work due to disability or illness, you can apply for Disability Allowance. You can also find out more in our checklist of the main services and entitlements for people with disabilities.
- If you are the parent or guardian of a child you can apply for Child Benefit. If you need childcare, you can view our childcare checklist.
- If you are parenting alone you can apply for One-Parent Family Payment. You can find out more in our checklist of the main services and entitlements for people parenting alone.
You have the right to work, so you may find our document on looking for work and getting a job helpful.
Your local Intreo centre or employment services office provides information and advice for jobseekers, including a list of job vacancies. The Jobs Ireland website lists jobs that are available. It also lists employment support scheme vacancies.
When you do find work, you should find out about your employment rights, which are protected by employment law. Specific legislation exists to protect your human rights and ensure equality at work and there are procedures to assist you to enforce your employment rights.
The medical services you received as an asylum seeker will continue if you have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection or permission to remain. The medical card gives you and your family access to medical services free of charge (some prescription charges apply). If you do not qualify for a medical card, you will be asked to pay for certain medical services. Contact your Local Health Office for details of GPs (family doctors) in your area.
All children and young people, including those granted refugee status or subsidiary protection or permission to remain, are entitled to free primary and post-primary education. You can read more about this and about further and third-level education in our document on education for people with refugee status or subsidiary protection or permission to remain.
If you are unemployed there are different education and training opportunities that include courses specifically for unemployed people.
The Department of Justice and Equality has published a guide to living independently (pdf) for people who have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection or permission to remain.
For information and advice about leaving direct provision accommodation, you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a free and confidential service that can help people manage their money.