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07.35 3 Mar 2015


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A new report has found the current asylum system is making it difficult for refugees to integrate in Irish society.

The European Union-funded study calls for measures to address the barriers facing refugees in the workplace and education.

The study called 'Towards a New Beginning' was conducted by the UN High Commission for Refugees - and calls for a reduction in the time spent by asylum seekers in direct provision as well as a speeding up of the application process.

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It finds that direct provision can lead to disempowerment and dependency. It says this is just one of a number of factors making integration into Irish society more challenging.

It found that employment was the key concern for respondents. It said specific barriers exist for refugees entering the labour market, in addition to challenges other migrants face.

The report said: "Challenges evidenced in this research include loss of identity documentation and qualification certificates, non-acceptance of qualifications or educational attainment, trauma and uncertainty, anxiety over family separation, the long period of inactivity in the asylum system, and limited social networks."

It also wants measures to address other barriers to integration. It says recognition of international qualifications and access to documentation would help refugees to get work.

The report also says measures to ease access to sporting, faith-based groups and schools will ease the transition to a new life for refugees.

Language was found to be a key influence on almost every policy area - and the level of language tuition was widely seen to be too low for practical use.

While refugees were found to struggle to access appropriate, secure, suitable and affordable housing when compared to wider migrant groups.

"Refugees overwhelmingly felt the pressure to leave the reception centre immediately after granting of refugee status to be highly stressful regarding housing and can
often drive refugees to poor housing in disadvantaged areas, to living temporarily with friends, or to homelessness," the report said.

Four countries took part in the research: Ireland, France, Sweden and Austria. In addition, an overview was done of three other countries which have made significant moves toward refugee integration - those of the UK, Canada and Germany.

The Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told Newstalk Lunchtime while it is slow work to make changes to the direct provision system, they are happening.

Read the full report here


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