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Know Your Rights June 2010

June 2010

Travelling abroad for work


I was made redundant a few months ago. I'm having no luck finding work here so I'm considering going abroad to look for work. I'd like to go to an English-speaking country. What are my options?


You can travel freely to work in the UK. Irish emigrants looking for work in an English-speaking country other than the UK often look at Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. You need a visa to work in all these countries.

Types of Australian visa include those for professionals and skilled workers and those sponsored by employers. There is also a working holiday visa for young adults, aged 18 to 30, that allows them to live and work in Australia for a year.

If you want to go to live and work in Canada there are different visas for immigrants such as skilled workers and family sponsorship. The eligibility criteria for skilled workers are based on their qualifications and experience. There is also a working holiday programmes which allow students and people aged under 35 to live and work in Canada for a year.

The skilled migrant visa is the most usual way of getting permission to work in New Zealand. These visas are granted according to a points system based on your qualifications and skills. The working holiday visa scheme allows young adults aged 18 to 30 to live and work in New Zealand for a year.

If you want to move to the USA to work you will need an immigrant visa. There are different types of immigrant visas. Most are based on sponsorship by a family member or a prospective employer.

If you are travelling outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you are strongly advised to seek specific holiday or health insurance before you travel. Moving abroad is a big step so you should research carefully. You will find more information on what to consider at the Crosscare Migrant project website:

Further information is available from your local Citizens Information Centre

June 2010

European Health Insurance Card


We are travelling to Europe this summer for our holidays. What health insurance do we need?


Every member of your family travelling needs an individual European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card allows you to access public healthcare services if you become ill or get injured when visiting certain European countries. It doesn't cover private treatment or the cost of repatriation to Ireland.

The countries covered by the card are the 27 member states of the EU, the three other members of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. The card is not required for a visit to the UK if you can show that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland.

You can apply online at if you already have a medical card, GP Visit Card or Drugs Payment Scheme card. Otherwise you can download an application form from or get it from your Local Health Office. You will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPS No.).

If you or other members of your family already have a card you should check the expiry dates. If any of the cards has expired, you can apply online to renew it. You will need the existing card number. If a family member has changed name or address, they will need to contact their Local Health Office.

You should apply for the card a month before travelling if possible. If you have concerns about getting a new or renewed card in time, you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate from your Local Health Office.

You may also wish to consider taking out private travel insurance for expenses that are not covered by the European Health Insurance Card. These may include the costs of repatriation or the expenses of relatives who travel to you if you fall ill abroad.

Further information is available from your local Citizens Information Centre

June 2010

Respite Care Grant


My son has a disability and I look after him full time. Do I qualify for a Respite Care Grant?


The Respite Care Grant is paid once a year to certain carers of people who need full-time care and attention. It is paid automatically in early June if you are getting one of the following payments: Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Constant Attendance Allowance, Prescribed Relative's Allowance or Domiciliary Care Allowance. If you got the grant last year, you do not need to apply again. You should have received a questionnaire from the Department (and returned it) to verify that you still qualify.

If you are not receiving one of these payments, you have to apply to the Department of Social Protection.

To qualify you must be:

•    Ordinarily resident in the State
•    Caring for your son on a full-time basis
•    Caring for him for at least six months – including the first Thursday in June
•    Living with your son or, if not, be contactable quickly by a direct system of communication, for example, telephone or alarm.

Your son must have a disability that requires full-time care and attention, which you are providing. He must not normally live in a hospital, convalescent home or similar institution but may attend a non-residential training course or day care centre.

For 2010, the Respite Care Grant is €1,700 for each person being cared for.

(You won't qualify for the grant if you are working, studying or training outside the home for more than 15 hours a week; if you are getting an unemployment payment; or if you are signing on for unemployment credits.)

If you are not due to get the payment automatically, use application form RCG1. This is available from, from your post office, Social Welfare Local Office or Citizens Information Centre, or ring lo-call 1890 202 325.

Further information is available from your local Citizens Information Centre

June 2010

Rights of European citizens


Where can I find out more about my rights as an EU citizen?


The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights lists the civil, political, social and economic rights recognised by the European Union (EU). These are listed under the headings of Dignity, Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizens' Rights, and Justice. There are also specific principles which apply to groups such as older people, children and people with disabilities. These rights are derived from a number of sources including existing EU law, the Social Charters of the EU and the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights and the constitutional traditions of the member states. The main aim of the Charter is to make these rights more visible to EU citizens. 
To find out more about your rights as an EU citizen you can contact Europe Direct ( This service acts as a first point of contact for information about the EU and offers information on a wide range of subjects including the rights of EU citizens. It can refer users to the best source of advice at EU, national, regional and local levels. You can contact Europe Direct by telephone at 00800 6789 10 11 or by e-form.  

You can also contact the Citizens Signpost Service which provides free and personalised advice on your rights in the EU. It can clarify the European law that applies in your case; explain how you can exercise your EU rights and obtain redress; and direct you to a body that can offer further help if needed. You can submit an enquiry via a web form or via the Europe Direct free phone number - 00800 6789 10 11 (ask for Citizens Signpost Service).

If you need to discuss your case personally, you can make an appointment with the Citizens Signpost Legal Adviser by telephone at (01) 634 1111 or by email at or by personal appointment through the European Commission Representation in Ireland at European Union House, 18 Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Athlone Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 09064 78851 Address: St. Marys Square, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, Lo-call 1890 777 121.


Archive of Citizens Information articles

posted: January 2014

Jan 7, 04:49 PM Know Your Rights January 2014

posted: November 2013

Nov 21, 03:44 PM Know Your Rights December 2013

posted: September 2013

Sep 25, 02:06 PM Know Your Rights October 2013

posted: August 2013

Aug 23, 10:28 AM Know Your Rights September 2013

posted: June 2013

Jun 19, 03:30 PM Know Your Rights July 2013

posted: May 2013

May 23, 11:52 AM Know Your Rights June 2013

posted: April 2013

Apr 24, 09:50 AM Know Your Rights May 2013

posted: March 2013

Mar 26, 10:03 AM Know Your Rights April 2013

posted: February 2013

Feb 21, 01:42 PM Know Your Rights March 2013

posted: January 2013

Jan 23, 03:53 PM Know Your Rights February 2013

Jan 7, 09:55 AM Know Your Rights January 2013

posted: November 2012

Nov 22, 12:01 PM Know Your Rights December 2012

posted: October 2012

Oct 24, 10:02 AM Know Your Rights November 2012

posted: September 2012

Sep 25, 01:25 PM Know Your Rights October 2012

posted: August 2012

Aug 22, 04:16 PM Know Your Rights September 2012

posted: July 2012

Jul 23, 03:13 PM Know Your Rights August 2012

posted: June 2012

Jun 22, 10:59 AM Know Your Rights July 2012

posted: May 2012

May 29, 11:07 AM Know Your Rights June 2012

posted: April 2012

Apr 25, 12:45 PM Know Your Rights May 2012

Apr 2, 02:44 PM Know Your Rights April 2012

posted: February 2012

Feb 21, 11:04 AM Know Your Rights March 2012

posted: January 2012

Jan 31, 02:33 PM Know Your Rights February 2012

Jan 4, 02:29 PM Know Your Rights January 2012

posted: November 2011

Nov 18, 11:29 AM Know Your Rights December 2011

posted: September 2011

Sep 20, 09:48 AM Know Your Rights October 2011

posted: August 2011

Aug 26, 02:59 PM Know Your Rights September 2011

Aug 2, 10:02 AM Know Your Rights August 2011

posted: June 2011

Jun 28, 03:54 PM Know Your Rights July 2011

posted: April 2011

Apr 27, 11:43 AM Know Your Rights May 2011

posted: March 2011

Mar 21, 12:30 PM Know Your Rights April 2011

posted: February 2011

Feb 22, 04:19 PM Know Your Rights February 2011

posted: January 2011

Jan 4, 11:02 AM Know Your Rights January 2011

posted: October 2010

Oct 29, 10:20 AM Know Your Rights November 2010

posted: September 2010

Sep 17, 04:15 PM Know Your Rights October 2010

posted: August 2010

Aug 31, 10:36 AM Know Your Rights September 2010

posted: July 2010

Jul 2, 10:15 AM Know Your Rights July 2010

posted: June 2010

Jun 4, 11:03 AM Know Your Rights June 2010

posted: April 2010

Apr 30, 11:47 AM Know Your Rights May 2010

Apr 6, 04:14 PM Know Your Rights April 2010

posted: March 2010

Mar 2, 02:16 PM Know Your Rights March 2010

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