From being a Stamp 3 visa holder to only Indian in Ireland-based law firm – this is Anjusha Ashok’s story!

Anjusha Ashok

“There’s nothing impossible” and “never give up” are the two mottos that drove Anjusha Ashok, an Indian immigrant in Ireland to fight for her employment rights.

Hailing from Kannur, Kerala, Anjusha’s story from being a Stamp 3 visa holder to becoming the only Indian trainee solicitor at the firm she currently works is exceptional as she never gave up her struggle to voice her rights in a stranger nation.

Anjusha reached Ireland with her husband in 2019 as a dependant Stamp 3 visa holder, which does not allow a foreign national to work in Ireland.

According to Ireland’s immigration laws, only those visa holders that are accompanying the Critical Skills Permit Holder as a dependant have the permission to work. This law did not help Anjusha as her husband, who’s been working in Ireland since 2017, is a General Work Permit holder. Anjusha had to stand for herself to get a Stamp 1 visa that would let her work in Ireland.

“I came on a dependant visa and had to just sit around in the house not being able to work. I had to do something because I wanted to continue pursuing my career,” Anjusha said in an interaction with Soho Deck.

Before shifting to Ireland, Anjusha worked as a lawyer in India for two years after her graduation.

She decided to not sit back and enrolled herself in the Law School – Law Society of Ireland. The Law Society of Ireland is the educational, representative, and regulatory body of the solicitors’ profession in Ireland.

Anjusha had to clear eight papers to graduate from Law School, and she achieved this in two sittings in less than a year. This also paved the way for her to be selected as the Law School Ambassador, a position given to about 10-15 people from each batch of around 450-500 students.

Being a Law School Ambassador means guiding and mentor the next batch enrolling for the professional practice course.

“Coaching here is expensive, and as I was totally dependent on my husband, I didn’t want to ask for money from him. I managed to get some old books from one of my friend’s mother, who is a lawyer. Though they weren’t updated, I started preparing in every possible way,” Anjusha said, recalling how she prepared for the course all by herself without any assistance.

Anjusha’s academic excellence drew Ian Ryan’s attention, who became a major help in her fight to get a work permit, she said. Ian is the traineeship and access scheme executive and solicitor at the Law Society of Ireland.

Anjusha recalls Ian saying; “I have not seen any immigrant student clearing eight papers in one year. I cannot let go of a talent like this.”

To help Anjusha acquire the work permit, Ian wrote a three-page letter to the concerned officials pressing on the need to repeal such a law that does not allow Stamp 3 visa holders to work.

Anjusha highlighted how that letter became a reason for her to get the work permit. Now Ian refers Anjusha to any immigrant student, who wishes to acquire a work permit or is facing any kind of issues regarding immigration laws, and Anjusha helps them out in every possible way, she said.

Commenting about life in Ireland, Anjusha said she was elated to have created a foothold in a stranger country. But, as every country has its pros and cons, Anjusha emphasised how discrimination against non-natives still prevails there.

“I have heard how immigrants are discriminated against here, but fortunately I haven’t experienced any. I am lucky that I am surrounded by good souls.”

Anjusha’s message to aspiring solicitors and immigrants in Ireland: “No matter where you are, strong desire, maximum effort and never die attitude will help you conquer great heights.”