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Important Ruling made for Non National Migrant Workers

7 Feb

The High Court has overturned a recent decision granting Mr Muhammad Younis an award of close to €92,000 as a result of exploitation in the work place.

Mr Younis came to Ireland in 2002 to work in a restaurant owned by Mr Amjad Heussein. He worked 11 hours a day, seven days a week for what was described as “pocket money” as a chef until he left his job in 2009.

He brought an action to the Rights Commissioner Service claiming he was grievously exploited under the Employment Acts, the Organisation of Working Time Act and the National Minimum Wage Act.

The Rights Commissioner upheld his claims and this was confirmed by the Labour Court who granted him an award of close to €92,000 in compensation and back pay.

Before any compensation was paid, Mr Heussein was granted leave for Judicial Review. He claimed that because Mr Younis had no Employment Permit, no Employment Contract existed and Mr Younis could not seek redress based on these Acts.

Mr. Justice Hogan in his judgement referred to the prevailing position that a Non National cannot lawfully enter into an Employment Contract without the required Employment Permit issued by the Minister.

 He went on further to say that it is a criminal offence for both the employer and employee to engage in employment without the necessary Permits. Hogan J ruled in favour of Mr Heussein as Mr Younis was not allowed to benefit from his illegal conduct.

In his conclusion Hogan J identified the irregularities in these Acts, in that undocumented workers will not be allowed to avail of the benefits under the Employment Acts, and in 2012 a Private Members Bill was published outlining these irregularities and possible ways to overcome them.

This Bill outlines that Non National Employees should have the right to rely on and enforce their Employment Contracts just as if an Employment Permit had been issued to them by the Minister. However it remains to be seen if this Bill will be enacted.

Please contact Immigration Law Consultants, 70 O’Connell Street Limerick at (061)774377 if you are a Non National worker experiencing difficulty in the work place.

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