With the European Union enabling us to travel to foreign lands in search of work, accepting that traffic will run both ways is inevitable. Just in case you think it’s all one way traffic you only need to go to a Mediterranean holiday resort to realise how many Irish and UK nationals are working abroad, some legally and some not. When people work illegally here, we have zealous immigration officials ready to put them under lock and key and rightly so. The problem is that communicating with many different nationalities on a daily basis is no easy feat and this can cause problems for local officials regardless of which side of the fence your loyalties lie.
Understanding the correct procedures and their own obligations are the main problems experienced by people who arrive here to work. While they may have the very best intentions and conduct themselves in an honest manner, they often find themselves on the wrong side of the law. That results in detention by immigration for something as simple as failing to follow procedures to keep status and circumstances up to date. Every problem of this nature incurs avoidable costs. Facilitating the transition from one environment to another is the only real solution for the government at both local and national levels.
Who is Responsible?
The Garda Racial and Intercultural Office already does a great job of handling most situations, but their plight is eased somewhat by the involvement of translation and interpretation services from private sector companies. It’s important to ensure language barriers are not obstacles to justice, which makes the accurate translation making interpretation of conversations and paperwork is critical. The Immigration Council of Ireland has been working tirelessly to protect foreign nationals from mistreatment resulting from poor communication, but they also make sure people who reside in Ireland illegally are unable to exploit the lack of communication skills.
Translation and interpretation companies like Word Perfect often use skills honed for business to act as intermediaries between immigrants and officials instead of working in their desired capacity, which would involve developing business between Ireland and business operating on in international level such as those in India and Brazil that want to use Ireland as a gateway to Europe.
The Reality of No Streets Paved with Gold
Arriving in Ireland is a revelation for many who realise for the first time that the streets are not exactly guilt edged and when that happens, people are often distraught. In many cases, language and culture difficulties contribute to a difficult time and the lack of a familiar support network means that people often wish they could travel to their homeland, but have no means to travel after investing all they had in a one-way journey.
People who originated from an EU member state can apply for assistance if they wish to repatriate. The Reception and Integration Agency are able to help individuals and families return to their original country of residence if they are unable to meet the requirements of the habitual residency condition attached to benefits claims.
When someone arrives seeking asylum, but wants to return to their homeland for whatever reason, the Voluntary Assisted Return (apply here) and Reintegration Scheme exists to enable people to travel and resettle. Language difficulties are often a major obstacle for asylum seekers moving to Ireland and that has been evident in the increase in workload reported by various translation service providers. Although the vast majority of asylum seekers are people who genuinely need help to survive, there are always a small minority of economic migrants in the mix.