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The struggle of the Indians in Ireland paid off, and within three months, the government changed its policy

DUBLIN – The Irish government has stated that the mandatory Level 5 course (QQI) for health care assistants working in Ireland to renew their work permits will not apply to those who already hold a higher qualification than the (QQI) Level 5 course.

In order to renew a work permit in Ireland, the government had previously given a condition that health care assistants must complete a (QQI) level 5 course within two years of starting work. For the past three months, the association has been fighting.

With more than nine thousand members working as a group called Overseas Health and Home care’s in Ireland, with the active support of Irish Malayali News and NMBI Board of Directors member Shalbin Joseph, they were able to bring the attention of TDs in the country to this issue.

As the group came together to expose the false propaganda of the course operators that new carers (QQI) should do the Level 5 course, the TCs also came forward for them. Following this, the Departments of Health and Enterprise have issued clear guidance in this regard.

Non-EEA nationals from outside Europe can now apply for a work permit in Ireland to work as a healthcare assistant. Within two years of employment, all healthcare assistants must achieve QQI Level 5.

The Ministry of Enterprises, on the other hand, has stated that QQI Level 5 will not apply to employees who have been admitted to the role of Healthcare Assistant (HCA) and are highly qualified with prior experience in the care industry. Approximately 80% of healthcare assistants now arriving in Ireland are nurses with a QQI level 6 or higher qualification.

An assessment form will be newly introduced to assess the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to carry out the role compared to QQI Level 5 qualified staff members. This form must be submitted with applications to renew Health Care Assistant Employment Permits. Notification and details regarding this will be published soon on the website of the Department of Enterprise.

Indian course providers and recruitment agents worked with some opposition TDs and employers to disrupt the carers’ struggle. An opposition TD demanded that the government provide funding for all students to take the course. An attempt was made to dampen the fighting spirit of the carers by disseminating fake letters and false information in the names of ministers and TDs.

The leaders of the Overseas Health and Home care’s in Ireland group, Bineesh Joseph (Letterkenny), Libin Baby Theta (New Castle West), and Preeti Unni (Kilcock), said that they would like to thank everyone who has cooperated with them so that the legal transition can be made in a beneficial way for the 3,000 health care assistants who have come to Ireland. All are to be commended that, in just three months, the collective action of the organisation was able to overturn a law that no one thought would be possible to change. They also stated that the group will continue to work towards finding a sustainable and permanent solution to the family reunification issue.

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