Employers should give serious consideration to employing people seeking asylum in Ireland to work in their businesses, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has claimed.
The IHREC said those applicants seeking international protection come from a wide range of countries and cultural backgrounds and bring with them a range of qualifications, skills and experience, including proficiency in different languages.
The commission's appeal came as it publishes a new guide for employers on hiring asylum seekers, backed by employers' group Ibec and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
"Since 2018, people seeking International Protection in Ireland have been able to seek work, but not enough employers know how to access this talent pool," said IHREC Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney.
"This guidance published today on International Human Rights Day, is about matching the skills, qualifications and talent of the people seeking asylum in Ireland to an employer’s business need."
Since the block on asylum seekers working was lifted three years ago, 9,187 people have applied for permission to work.
Yet of the 6,837 who were granted permission to work, just 60%, or 4,091, are now in employed or self-employed work.
2,913 people are living in Direct Provision and working, while 1,178 are working and living independently.
"People seeking international protection in Ireland can be eligible to work in Ireland," said David Joyce, Equality Officer with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
"But being eligible and being able to secure employment are two very different things If they can't find the jobs or employers who recognise their qualifications and experience to provide the decent work they need."
The new toolkit aims to give businesses clear accessible information on how to go about employing asylum seekers.
Some of the topics include what having international protection status means for people’s ability to be employed.
It also sets out guidelines for employers about how the process should work and provides examples of companies that have successfully done it, including Deloitte and Zartis.
The backers of the document think many employers may not know that it is possible to em ploy asylum seekers and are therefore potentially missing out on an opportunity to tap into this pool of talent.
"Employers need people with qualifications, drive and experience," said Ibec's Director of Social Policy Dr Kara McGann.
"Utilising these skills and harnessing the talent offered by people seeking International Protection can be an additional driver for the competitiveness and growth of business in Ireland, and help us respond to the changing needs of our economy.
Having a job is considered to make it much more possible for those seeking international protection to live independently.
The launch of the booklet comes on International Human Rights Day.