A landmark scheme to regularise long-term undocumented migrants will increase tax and benefit the State labour market as workers transition into regular employment, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Fine Gael Spokesperson for Equality, said, “I welcome this scheme so much, having worked with migrants’ rights groups on it for some time. I particularly welcome the inclusion of documented asylum seekers.
“It is important to recognise that I have heard concerns about this as being an amnesty for illegal immigrants, but I really hope people will look at this in the round – not just in terms of inclusivity and empathy but in terms of practical benefits to the state and all its people and the opportunities for an already hard-pressed labour market in key sectors.
“As well as the hugely positive impact it will have on the lives of the undocumented, some of whom have had very complex lives and situations over the past number of years, this scheme is of important economic benefit to the State as tax intakes will likely increase into the future.
“Thousands of migrants who are currently employed in the shadow economy will transition into tax-paying employment after becoming regularised. This will benefit our labour market, at a time when we’re facing shortages in some sectors. We will also see a significant increase in our income tax and social security contributions.
“I have heard concerns in the past from Irish businesses who have felt prejudiced against by being undercut by the shadow economy in their sector. We know that many long-term undocumented migrants are currently employed in the shadow economy and are often working long hours for low wages, which makes things harder for other Irish businesses who would never exploit people like that.
“This scheme helps regularise work everywhere and should lead to greater fairness overall. We are talking about many people who are already working here, but in vulnerable conditions and not paying tax. Let’s give them a structure to work here legally, pay tax and have better security in their lives.
“While there is no completely reliable data on the numbers who might avail of the scheme yet, we can see that in a scenario with 10,000 adults and 4,000 children, where 90% of the adults are in employment, the earnings at minimum wage or average salary would amount to €183 million or €440 million respectively, which would be taxable and taxed.
“On the State side, the economy will benefit from this income tax and social security contributions as well as meeting labour market needs. For individuals already here and working, this is a life-changing opportunity to be fully part of Irish society and the Irish economy. It’s a win-win situation, as well as the right thing to do,” concluded Deputy Carroll MacNeill.