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Labour market access

A key part of the Regulations deals with applications for labour market access permissions. These are available to applicants for international protection who meet the following criteria:

  • after nine months (after the international protection application was made), no first instance decision has been taken on the application
  • the reason why a decision has not been taken on the application for international protection cannot be attributed to the applicant.

Effectively a first labour market access permission is only available to applicants for international protection where an international protection officer has not made a recommendation in relation to their application for international protection. It is not available to applicants who have already received a recommendation in relation to their application and are appealing to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. However, where an applicant for international protection has received a recommendation from an international protection officer, they can continue to renew an expiring permit up until the time their application for international protection has been finally determined and cannot be appealed.

Law centres and members of the solicitors panel providing services to applicants for international protection may receive queries from existing applicants in relation to applying for labour market access. As part of the legal advice service they are providing in relation to the application for international protection, they may provide an applicant legal advice in relation to the criteria for an application for labour market access.

The application for labour market access is made to the Minister for Justice and Equality on the form (LMA3) provided for in Schedule 3 to the Regulations. The form is relatively straightforward and involves the submission of the applicant’s basic personal details and the completion of a checklist. No legal submissions are requested nor required. On that basis, it is not considered appropriate for a law centre or member of the solicitors panel to complete the application for labour market access on behalf of the applicant, as part of the legal advice service offered.