Figures from the Department of Justice show a total of 330 asylum seekers have secured employment under the new labour market access permission scheme.

The figures, obtained by RTÉ News, show the department received a total of 2,150 applications from people living in direct provision for permission to work since a change in the law governing employment came into force.

A total of 1,521 applicants were granted permission to work, while 629 were declined as they did not meet certain eligibility criteria. 

In June Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, signed the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018, which effectively lifted a ban on many people living in direct provision from working.

The new rules came into force on 1 July and mean that an eligible international protection applicant or asylum seeker can apply to the minister for labour market access permission which, when successful, grants the applicant temporary permission to work while they await a decision on their asylum status.

Once the applicant has been successful in securing employment, the employer is obliged to notify the department.

In order for an applicant to be eligible to seek employment, they must not have received a first instance decision on their asylum application within nine months of them having been in Ireland.

A first instance decision could mean the applicant has already been granted asylum status, granted subsidiary protection or refused asylum status.

Currently there are 1,471 cases before the International Protection Appeals Tribunal at various stages of the appeals process.

This figure could also include children, but of the adults, none of them would be eligible for labour market access.