UN experts condemn Ireland’s migrant fishing workers scheme


Ireland’s permit scheme for migrant workers on its fishing trawlers breaches international human rights law, four UN special rapporteurs have said in a warning letter to the Irish government. The four UN rapporteurs – on modern slavery, trafficking in persons, racial discrimination and human rights – joined together to issue an exceptional rebuke to the Irish government, saying they had received information that the permits were making migrants from outside the European Union vulnerable to modern slavery and serious abuse on Irish fishing vessels.

The scheme was introduced in 2016 following a Guardian investigation that uncovered widespread exploitation and alleged trafficking of workers from Asia and Africa on to Irish trawlers. In an effort to give undocumented workers better protection, the government set up an emergency taskforce, which introduced permits under an “atypical workers’ scheme” (AWS) to work in its fleet. But visas under the scheme required employers to apply for them and tied migrants to individual bosses, leaving them vulnerable to unscrupulous operators.(theguardian)…[+]