“In Ireland, my career halted. Job rejection disappointed me but didn’t break my spirit.” — Interview with Supriya Singh
by Pratiksha Kamat
Supriya Singh, who was born and raised in India, moved to Ireland from London in 2016 with her husband and three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Her journey in Ireland has been similar to that of other migrant women who left their respective careers to accompany their spouses to Ireland’s burgeoning Tech sector. Despite having had a successful career for over a decade in multiple countries, she was unable to find work in her own field.
“My husband was offered a good job in Dublin, and we decided to move here together.”
Singh has a bachelor’s degree in English with honours and a masters degree in journalism. She worked for a well-known news network in her home country before relocating to London in 2012 to join her husband. She started working with one of the US news agencies and later got to work with BBC in London.
In 2016, she had to restart from scratch to build her new life in Dublin. As soon as she landed in the country, Singh began applying for journalism employment. However, because of the uncertainty surrounding her Stamp 3 spousal visa — which allowed her to seek employment but required a stamp change if she was offered a job — no one was interested in her applications.
“It was depressing to watch my career come to a halt after coming to ireland. Stamp uncertainty has been dreadful for dependent spouses, who have received little attention from employers.”
After a long struggle and campaign, the Irish Government finally agreed to grant Stamp 1G permission, which does not require a work permit sponsorship. Even after the critical skill dependents stamp was changed from Stamp 3 to Stamp 1G, many employers took a long time to comprehend their rights to work without a work permit. Even today, dependent spouses of General Permit holders are granted Stamp 3 permission and are denied the opportunity to work in the country.
She correctly points out that in other countries, especially in the UK, if you are a dependent of a work permit holder, you can apply for a job without any work permit restriction.
“Because of the Visa fiasco, many firms are missing out on the best and brightest prospects. Sometimes it appears that everyone who comes here from outside the EU is dealing with the same problem. I used to get the impression that many employers were not fully aware of the rights of other visas apart from Stamp 4.”
After her second child supriya rethought her approach towards her career. She decided to pursue CIPD in Human Resource Management from NCI, Ireland. She spoke so positively about NCI
“As an immigrant, I felt accepted when the NCI career team assisted me with career guidance and highlighted potential job opportunities in the market. Personally, I believe that work opportunities in the journalism and media sectors are extremely limited, particularly for foreigners. I was finally able to begin my career in administration with AIB here in Ireland.”
When asked why it is necessary to have immigrants in the labor force, she simply answered with a huge smile.
“ The immigrant community plays an important role in the Irish labor market. They not only pay their taxes on time, but they also bring diversity to the organisations. They fill skill gaps in a wide range of industries.”
What distinguishes Supriya is her ability to reach out to the entire Indian community and bring them together for various causes.
“When I moved to Dublin from London, I didn’t see many Indians. The majority of the folks I knew lived in different parts of Ireland. Despite the fact that there were certain regional groups representing various communities in India. I felt there was a need for people to come and work together in order to represent India. Making a name for India in Ireland has been my mission since I founded the group “Indian Ladies in Ireland.”
One of the reasons for forming such a group was to bring women from our community forward so that we could share their ideas. The ladies began volunteering in the local community, providing career assistance, job help, visa information, and personal connections to recent arrivals from India. Soon after, she hosted a gathering of about 50 people in August 2017. The group assembled on Grafton Street for a flashmob to commemorate India’s independence day.
“It felt so good bringing all those women together to dance to Bollywood music in Dublin. That event brought even more women to join the group where we could help each other.”
Over the years, the foundation has held a number of charity events in Dublin, working with children with special needs and have been helping homeless people with food and clothing. Singh asserts emphatically:
“We will continue to help the society in whatever way we can to keep the spirit of India alive in Ireland.”
Finally, when asked what message she would like to send to migrants who are trying to enter the nation, she said the following:
“My message to the entire immigrant community is to be patient and keep looking for the right opportunity. There is always a way where there is a will. Taking a course or getting a certification is also advantageous. There is always a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel.”