SUPREME COURT DELIVER JUDGEMENT IN IMPORTANT CASE CONCERNING THE ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEAVE TO REMAIN

SUPREME COURT DELIVER JUDGEMENT IN IMPORTANT CASE CONCERNING THE ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEAVE TO REMAIN

The Supreme Court have delivered a seminal judgement in the case of MK(Albania) v Minister for Justice v Minister for Justice and Equality [2022] IESC 0000.

 

The Supreme Court have issued five separate judgements in respect of this case.

 

The majority of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice ruled not to overturn the judgement of the High Court. The High court had determined in this case that a person “with a non-settled or precarious residential status cannot assert Article 8 rights, unless exceptional circumstances arise. Accordingly, a proportionality assessment does not arise”.

 

There are two dissenting judgements of Ms Justice Baker and Mr Justice Mac Menamin who ruled that they would have quashed the decision under challenge.

 

The case involved a young person from Albania who came to Ireland as a minor at the age of 16. An application for international protection in the State was submitted on his behalf. His applications for refugee status and subsidiary protection were refused. His application for leave to remain in the State was then considered and ultimately refused. The Applicant was thereafter issued with a deportation order requiring him to leave the State and remain outside the State indefinitely. The Applicant has lived in Ireland for six years, has went to school here, reached the age of majority here and lived in foster care in this State.

 

The decision to refuse him leave to remain in Ireland and to issue him with a deportation order found that given the precarious nature of his residence in Ireland, as a failed asylum seeker, Article 8 of the European Convention on Human rights was not engaged in his case.

 

The Supreme Court Justices all held that this was not in fact correct. The Court found that Article 8 ECHR was in fact engaged in the case, however the majority judgement held that in any event if the decision maker had correctly assessed the case in substance. The Court found that it would only be in the most exceptional of cases, with wholly exceptional circumstances, that an infringement of an applicant’s private life rights would outweigh a State’s legitimate aim of protecting the integrity of the immigration system.

 

Chief Justice O’Donnell in his Judgement outlined the key question at issue in this case:

 

how should the question of the impact upon the applicant’s private life of a decision of a refusal of leave to remain and/or removal from Ireland be approached and analysed under Article 8?

 

It is accepted in the Supreme Court judgements that the decision made by the Minister in this case followed the legal tests as outlined a case from the United Kingdom, R (Razgar) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UK HL 27, [2004] 2 AC 368   as adopted in this State by the Court of Appeal case of C.I. & Ors. v. The Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform [2015] IECA 192, [2015] 3 I.R. 385.

 

Mr Justice O’Donnell confirmed that this was not the correct approach in these cases. The approach in those cases would appear to be that exceptional circumstances need to arise before Article 8 is engaged. The Supreme Court found this to be incorrect, it should have been held that Article 8 is engaged (even if the applicant’s permission is “precarious”) and the decision maker should then have assessed whether the interference with the rights was proportionate to the legitimate aim being pursued. There is no question of the rights protected by Article 8 being breached in this case – the only thing in issue is the manner in which that conclusion should have been reached.

 

The Court did state that in cases of “settled migrants” whose permission in the State could not be deemed precarious, there may be more possibility that an applicant’s Article 8 rights might more readily outweighed by the legitimate interests of the State.

 

Mr Justice O’Donnell held:

 

The point has been reached where I think it should be recognised that it is in the nature of any decision which refuses leave to remain in the country and renders future residence unlawful and perhaps, even more clearly, where the decision is one for forced removal, that such a decision is normally likely to have an impact of such gravity on an individual who has been living lawfully in Ireland for any appreciable time to engage the operation of Article 8. This is so even if that residence is precarious on the basis of a permission that is necessarily temporary and limited and where the decision to refuse leave to remain, or indeed to deport, is no more than the enforcement and application of the limitation of that permission or its termination in accordance with its terms. To that extent, I agree that the applicant’s analysis is correct and, accepting for the moment the Razgar test as a template for the Minister’s decision in this case, the applicant’s case ought to have been assessed under the fifth limb of the test, that is, whether such interference was proportionate to the legitimate public ends sought to be achieved.

 

The Court held clarified that that while accepting the decision is invalid, I would refrain from ordering certiorari, on the grounds that the outcome would inevitably be the same. Instead for the reasons I have tried to set out, I do not consider that the decision of the Minister was invalid.

 

The Court held that there was no obligation on decision makers to assess applications in a particular format and what was important is that rights are “respected and not breached” and in compliance with The European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003.

 

In Mr Justice Hogan’s judgement the Court addresses the query as to whether the applicant could invoke Constitutional rights in these proceedings, namely Article 40.3 privacy and Article 40.6 associational rights:

 

It follows, therefore, that, based on the NHV analysis, non-nationals enjoy the protections afforded by Article 40.3 and Article 40.6.1.iii (and the other relevant constitutional provisions) in respect of these privacy and associational rights. To that extent, therefore, non-nationals enjoy (in principle, at any rate) a combination of privacy, associational and autonomy-style constitutional rights which correspond to the omnibus description of the right to a private life contained in Article 8 ECHR.

 

The other judgements outline this case was not the appropriate case to consider Constitutional rights as they interact with Article ECHR rights.

 

Ms Justice O’Malley agrees with the majority judgment in her judgement.

 

Mr Justice Mac Menamin in his dissenting judgment respectfully disagrees with the majority and finds that the question of methodology cannot be separated from the substance of the decision.

 

In concluding that he would quash the Minister’s decision Mr Justice Mac Menamin held the decision-making process in this case led to a test which commenced by asking whether Article 8 is engaged, which was answered by considering the gravity of the consequences, rather than whether the privacy and family right actually arose for consideration on the facts.

 

Mr Justice Mac Menamin concludes:

 

There is, at the heart of this appeal, a fundamental question of legal principle concerning rights and remedies. I respectfully, therefore, dissent from the judgment of the majority as to the absence of any remedy. In the first instance, I would have granted the appellant an order of certiorari of the Minister’s orders in this case. But, failing that, I would, alternatively, have granted a declaration that, by virtue of the respondent’s breach of his rights under Articles 8 and 13 of the ECHR, the appellant was entitled to a declaration that the respondent had breached her statutory duty under s.3(1() of the 2003 Act. In my view, such a conclusion must follow from the application of the soundest of all legal principles, that is the protection of the rule of law

 

In her dissenting judgement. Ms Justice Baker concurs with Mr Justice Mac Menamin and finds:

 

“Mac Menamin J. notes, that there are few cases where the interests of a precarious unsettled migrant with a personal family or private life could outweigh the significant interests of the State.”

 

Ms Justice Baker holds that the decision refusing the applicant leave to remain should have been quashed and re assessed by the Minister on the basis that:

 

“That the process be correct, and be seen to have been correctly applied, is not a mere formality…

…the essence of administrative law is to ensure that the process followed by an administrative decision maker were correct, not because due process is an end in itself, 4 but because a person who invokes a process is entitled to understand that process, to know that it was properly applied, and as a result to be in a position to know that the decision maker acted lawfully.”

 

This important Judgement will undoubtedly have an impact on how applications for leave to remain are to be considered by the Minister in Ireland from now on. It can no longer be the case that an applicant needs to show exceptional circumstances prior to being entitled to a proportionality assessment of any infringement of their private and family life rights under Article 8 ECHR.

 

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

 

RECENT HIGH COURT DECISION – REFUSAL OF REFUGEE FAMILY REUNIFICATION FOR NON-MARITAL PARTNER

RECENT HIGH COURT DECISION – REFUSAL OF REFUGEE FAMILY REUNIFICATION FOR NON-MARITAL PARTNER

Ms Justice Bolger of the High Court has recently delivered a judgement in the case of O v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 617.

 

The case concerned a Nigerian citizen who applied for refugee family reunification for his non-marital partner and three children in Nigeria pursuant to s.56 of the International Protection Act 2015. The applications for his children were granted, however the application for his partner was refused. The applicant sought to challenge this decision by way of judicial review proceedings in the High Court, seeking to quash the decision. The Court refused the application and did not grant the relief sought.

 

The application was refused on the basis that s.56(9) of the 2015 Act only permits unification with a marital partner, whilst the applicant’s partner was not married to him. Non-marital partners are covered by a separate administrative non-EEA Family Reunification policy.

 

The applicant claimed that s.56(9) is repugnant to the provisions of the Constitution and incompatible with EU law and the State’s obligations under the ECHR. He applicant also claimed that the administrative policy would not afford him reunification with his partner because he was unable to comply with its financial requirements. He argued that limiting statutory family reunification to a spouse will unfairly split non-marital families by leaving one parent isolated from the other and their children. The applicant argued that this limitation is contrary to Articles 40.1 and 40.3 of the Constitution on the right to equality and Article 41 family rights, as well as his rights under the ECHR to non-discrimination. The applicant also sought constitutional protection for his right to cohabit.

 

The Court rejected the argument that the applicant was being treated less favourably than a married refugee who has been separated from their spouse. The Court in making this determination considered the Minister’s submissions that the applicant was married to a third party and that this marriage had not been dissolved. The Court was satisfied that the applicant’s status is therefore that of a married person and he could not assert a constitutional right to equality of a non-married person to be treated equally to a married person.

 

The Court did not accept the assertion by the applicant that his non-marital relationship is akin to the marital relationship that is recognised under Irish law. The Court stated that insofar as the applicant contended that the relationship between him and his partner was akin to marriage, it could only be akin to a polygamous marriage, which is not recognised in Irish law.

 

In considering the applicant’s argument that there is a constitutional right to cohabit, the Court rejected that such a right existed. The Court further concluded that no EU rights are engaged in the application of s.56 of the 2015 Act and therefore the ECHR is not applicable.

 

The Court therefore found that it is not unlawful that unmarried partners are not included as family members under s.56 of the Act. The Minister has discretion in assessing the extent of family reunification to be afforded to refugees and is entitled to limit this. The Court found that applicants have a non-statutory procedure which they can use to apply for their unmarried partners, via a long-stay visa application, asking the Minister to disapply financial criteria if necessary. The Court found that the State had not breached the applicant’s constitutional rights by providing a different, and potentially more restrictive, non-statutory administrative policy for non-marital family reunification.

The full judgement can be found here:

https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/d322aab5-cda8-461b-b019-dc363a071c70/2022_IEHC_617.pdf/pdf#view=fitH

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

REFUSAL OF NATURALISATION APPLICATION ON GOOD CHARACTER GROUNDS OVERTURNED BY HIGH COURT

REFUSAL OF NATURALISATION APPLICATION ON GOOD CHARACTER GROUNDS OVERTURNED BY HIGH COURT

Mr Justice Garrett Simons of the High Court has recently delivered a judgement in the case of A.J.A v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 162 JR.

The case concerned a refusal of an application for naturalisation.

The application was refused on the grounds that the Applicant did not meet the good character criterion under Section 15(1)(b) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956. The Applicant was found to have submitted a potentially false Somali passport with her application.

The Applicant subsequently issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court to challenge the decision to refuse her application for a certificate of naturalisation. This was the second set of judicial review proceedings issued by the Applicant in respect of her application for naturalisation. The Applicant had issued judicial review proceedings in 2021 challenging the delay in processing her application. These proceedings were struck out of the High Court in January 2022, following the issuance of a decision on the Applicant’s application in December 2021.

The primary issue that was considered in the second set of judicial review proceedings was whether fair procedures had been observed in the Minister’s decision-making process.

The Applicant submitted her application for naturalisation on the 29th May 2017. On the 6th November 2017, the Applicant’s solicitors submitted a letter to the Minister that highlighted the Applicant’s concern as to the genuineness of the passport that she had submitted with her application. On the 10th May 2018, the Applicant’s solicitors sent a further letter to outline attempts made by the Applicant to have a new Somali passport issued. The Respondent then sent a letter in response, confirming that a thorough investigation was required as to the genuineness of the Applicant’s passport.  It was the Applicant herself who proactively contacted the Minister in relation to this issue and confirmed that she had always acted in good faith in respect of her application for a passport and in respect of her application for naturalisation.

The Applicant was ultimately successful in the High Court on the grounds that the Minister’s decision did not consider the Applicant’s explanation nor the exculpatory factors at issue.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons found that submission of the Minister did not meet the prescribed standard of fair procedures as it failed to acknowledge the explanations offered by the Applicant in respect of her passport. Ms Justice Garrett Simons found that, “The omission from the submission/recommendation of an accurate record of the explanation and exculpatory factors is fatal to the validity of the decision made.” The Court further found that the Minister’s decision did not meet the legal test for the adequacy of reasons.

The Court acknowledged that the submission of a false passport is an extremely serious issue and could of course legitimately give rise to a decision to refuse an application for Irish citizenship by way of naturalisation. The Court found that it was the manner in which the decision was made that was problematic, it was not clear whether the Applicant’s explanation that due to the circumstances in Somalia and the lack of Government, she could not confirm if her passport was valid or not,  had been provided to the Minister when the decision to refuse was made. The Court held that “The failure of the respondent in the present case to take the basic step of identifying the precise documents which had been submitted to the ultimate decision-maker is regrettable”.

The Minister of Justice’s decision to refuse the Applicant’s naturalisation application was quashed. The Court held:

 

  1. The submission/recommendation in the present case failed to meet the prescribed standard of fair procedures. The principal deficiency is that the submission/recommendation fails to record, even in the most cursory form, the explanations offered by the Applicant, through her solicitors, for the submission of the false passport. There is no reference to the practical difficulties asserted by the Applicant in obtaining a passport from Somalia given what is said to be the absence of a functioning central government there. Nor is there any reference to the efforts made by the Applicant to travel to the Somali Embassy in Belgium for the purpose of obtaining a passport. Although these events occurred after the submission of the false passport, they are, 13 arguably, indicative of the practical difficulties which a Somalia national, who has been long-term resident in the Irish State, faces in obtaining a passport from that country

The full judgement can be found here.

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT- REFUSAL OF TRAVEL VISA FOR EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDER

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT – REFUSAL OF TRAVEL VISA FOR EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDER

Ms Justice Bolger of the High Court has recently delivered a judgement in the case of S v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 578.

 

The case concerned an Indian citizen who was granted a work permit to take up a position as a tandoori chef. The Applicant then applied for a visa to enable him enter Ireland to take up this employment position, but his visa application was refused. The Applicant appealed against this refusal; his appeal was also unsuccessful.

 

The Applicant initiated Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court to challenge the Minister’s decision, seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision. Ms Justice Bolger found for the applicant and granted the order quashing the decision.

 

The Minister refused the visa application on the basis that there was insufficient documentation submitted in support of the application. The Minister stated that there were inconsistencies and contradictions in the information supplied. Lastly, the Minister stated that the visa sought was for a specific purpose and duration, and the applicant had not satisfied the visa officer that such conditions would be observed. The Minister highlighted that the applicant had not provided sufficient evidence that they had the appropriate skills, knowledge, or experience for taking up the employment position in Ireland.

 

The appeal was also refused on the basis that the applicant had not addressed the refusal reasons listed in the refusal letter. The Minister relied on evidence from a telephone interview with the applicant in which he was asked what type of food he would be cooking, to which he replied, “Indian breads.” The applicant was then asked about cooking other dishes such as chicken tikka and he confirmed that this was not part of his job as a tandoori chef but that he had a basic knowledge of this type of cooking.

 

The Court found that the appeals decision did not state what documentation was missing from the applicant’s application, nor was missing documentation identified during the application or appeal process. The Minister’s deponent swore an affidavit in the proceedings which took issue with the applicant’s failure to submit a supplementary form that was required by the Minister. It was further highlighted that payslips, tax forms and evidence of experience or qualifications were missing, however this was raised for the first time after judicial review proceedings were initiated.

 

The Court found that it was unreasonable for the decision maker to dismiss the applicant’s two work references because of an absence of a website. The decision maker had claimed the lack of a website meant they were unable to check the references, when one written reference may have included a website and both references included mobile numbers which were not checked by the Minister.

 

Regarding the alleged inconsistencies in the application, the Court found that it was unclear from the appeal decision what these inconsistencies were. The decision maker had concluded based off the interview that the applicant could not provide detailed recipes for food which he would be required to cook in Ireland. The Court found that this was not a reasonable conclusion for the decision maker to reach, as the applicant’s work permit made it clear that his job was to make specialty tandoori bread, which the employer was satisfied the applicant had sufficient experience in. The applicant never claimed he would be required to cook chicken tikka or chicken dishes in Ireland and there was therefore no need to question him about his experience in this regard.

 

The Court found that a work permit does not constitute prima facie evidence that the applicant has the skills and experience required, to the point that the Minister for Justice cannot look behind the grant of the permit or require an applicant for a visa to show they are qualified to do the job for which they were granted the permit, in the assessment of the visa application to enter Ireland. However, the Court found that it also cannot simply be ignored.

 

The Court further found that there were no reasons or explanations given for the Minister’s decision that the applicant had not satisfied the visa officer that the conditions of the visa would be observed. The Court found that the reasons set out in the appeal decision were very brief. Ms Justice Bolger highlighted that the reasons set out in the decision fell well short of what is required.

 

This case raises the interesting conflict that can arise when a person has been granted an employment permit and requires an employment visa to enter the State.

 

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment have responsibility for the issuance of employment permits. When a person has been granted an employment permit is a national of a country that requires an entry visa to enter Ireland, their application to enter Ireland for the purpose of employment is again subjected to a review by the Minister for Justice in their visa application.

 

It is the Minister for Justice who has responsibility for the issuance of visas and immigration permissions.  In our experience the Minister for Justice does not limit her assessment of the visa application to immigration matters only and will often undertake an examination of the applicant’s suitability for the employment position they have been issued an employment permit for.

 

It is a very unfortunate and regrettable position for a person who has been successful in obtaining an employment permit to come and work in Ireland to then be refused entry to the State to take up that employment due to concerns raised by visa officers as to the applicant’s suitability for an employment position.

 

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

SUPREME COURT DELIVER JUDGEMENT IN IMPORTANT CASE CONCERNING THE ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEAVE TO REMAIN

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENTS RELATING TO EU RESIDENCE CARDS

Ms Justice Bolger of the High Court has recently delivered a judgement in the case of K v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 582. The case concerned a review of the decision to revoke an EU Residence Card which had been previously granted to the spouse of a Latvian citizen. The submissions put forward by the applicant were rejected by the Minister, who found firstly that the applicant’s marriage to an EU citizen was one of convenience, and secondly that the applicant had submitted false and misleading documentation in support of his application for a residence card.

SUPREME COURT DELIVER JUDGEMENT IN IMPORTANT CASE CONCERNING THE ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEAVE TO REMAIN

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT RELATING TO VISA REFUSAL FOR HUSBAND OF IRISH CITIZEN

Justice Phelan of the High Court has recently delivered judgement in the case of S.M and T.A v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 611

 

This case involved a long stay visa application made by the husband of an Irish citizen to join his wife in Ireland. The visa application was refused by the Minister and was also refused on appeal.

 

The couple challenged this refusal in the High Court by way of Judicial Review.

 

The couple were unsuccessful in their case before the High Court.

 

The visa application was refused for multiple reasons. The Court found that the Minister had failed in a number of respects in the assessment of the visa application.

 

The Irish Immigration Service Delivery consider visa applications in line with a Policy Document on Non, EEA family reunification, December 2016 (https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Policy-document-on-Non-EEA-family-reunification.pdf)  . Under the terms of this policy, Irish citizens are asked to have earned a certain income within the three  years prior to the visa application for their family member. In this case, the Irish citizen sponsor did meet this financial  criteria.

 

Despite this, the Minister found that granting the visa application would likely cost the Irish State money. It was found that the bank balance of the sponsor was low, and this caused this risk. The Court found there had been a lack of fair procedures in respect of the handling of  this aspect of the case. The Irish citizen sponsor in fact had savings but had not provided evidence of same as it was not obvious that they would be required when the financial criteria had been met.

 

The Court also found that the Minister had been incorrect in finding that there had been no explanation with regards to discrepancies on official documents and dates of registration on such documents. The applicant and sponsor had provided explanations. The court found that the correct approach of the Minister  should have been to acknowledge that an explanation had been provided, but could then have assessed if this explanation was to her  satisfaction or not.

 

It was brought to the Court’s attention by the applicants that a previous visa refusal has to be declared going forward and can have a negative impact on a person’s immigration history. The Court considered quashing the decision with this in mind, but ultimately held that there was no unreasonable prejudice to the applicants, as they could re-apply providing the documents that were found to be lacking and with new financial documentation. The Court found that this application would be made on better facts and did not believe there was an unreasonable prejudice to the applicant in having to declare a previous visa refusal.

 

The applicants also brought it to the Court’s attention that the Irish citizen sponsor was pregnant and also the security and safety circumstances in the home country of the sponsor had deteriorated. The Court found that this was not put to the Minister during the application  prior to a decision being made and therefore could not be properly found as a reason to find fault with the decision at this stage.

 

The Court ultimately held that due to the myriad of reasons the application for the visa had been refused, the deficiencies in the decision-making process as specifically  identified by the Court did not amount to the decision being unlawful.

 

The Court held that even if these matters had been handled in the proper way the visa application would still have been refused for other reasons, including a failure to provide specifically requested documents and the quality of some official documentation.

 

The Court stated that a fresh visa application to address these issues was a suitable way forward for the applicants.

 

This judgement highlights the importance of providing all requested documents in a visa application, following all ISD published guidelines in respect of documents and attestation of certificates and providing all relevant information in the visa application.

 

The Judgment also appears to  indicate that were an applicant meets the financial  criteria of the policy document, it would only be fair that an applicant be put on notice that the Minister intends to  refuse the application on those grounds to allow them to address these  concerns prior to decision being made.

 

The full judgment can be found here:

 

https://www.courts.ie/viewer/pdf/fa5fae37-2d5d-4ba3-bd24-ef1099537524/2022_IEHC_611.pdf/pdf#view=fitH

 

Berkeley Solicitors is highly specialised in preparing and submitting join family visas. Please do contact us if you need advice or assistance with such an application.

 

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

 

RUSSIAN AND BELARUSIAN CITIZENS REMOVED FROM IRISH SHORT STAY VISA WAIVER SCHEME

RUSSIAN AND BELARUSIAN CITIZENS REMOVED FROM IRISH SHORT STAY VISA WAIVER SCHEME

On Tuesday the 25th of October 2022, changes to the short-stay visa waiver scheme were agreed at a meeting of the Cabinet following a proposal by the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

This scheme allows citizens from over 20 countries, who have a valid visa to travel to the UK, to travel to Ireland without having to obtain an additional Irish visa.

However, Russian and Belarusian citizens travelling to Ireland from the UK will no longer be able to avail of this visa waiver scheme. Citizens of Russia and Belarus will now have to obtain an additional Irish visa to enter Ireland when travelling from the UK.

The terms of the short stay visa waiver scheme are accessible here:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/coming-to-visit-ireland/short-stay-visa-waiver-programme/

The Minister’s notice is available here:

https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/d4b0e-russia-and-belarus-removed-from-short-stay-visa-waiver-scheme/#:~:text=Russia%20and%20Belarus%20removed%20from%20Short%20Stay%20Visa%20Waiver%20Scheme,-From%20Department%20of&text=The%20Minister%20for%20Justice%20is,the%20Russian%20Federation%20and%20Belarus.

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

UPCOMING CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES

UPCOMING CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES

The Department of Justice has announced that the next citizenship ceremonies will take place on Monday the 5th of December and Tuesday the 6th of December 2022. The ceremonies are being hosted at the Killarney Convention Centre in Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Invitations will issue in due course to eligible candidates. Candidates are required to produce identity documents, for example a valid passport, on the day of the ceremony for verification purposes. At the ceremony candidates take an oath of fidelity to the nation, receive their certificate of naturalisation and become Irish citizens.

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to congratulate our clients who have recently received their Irish Citizenship, and all who will be attending these ceremonies.

REVIEW OF THE ATYPICAL SCHEME FOR NON-EEA CREW IN THE IRISH FISHING FLEET

In a notice posted on the ISD Webpage on 14th October 2022 it was announced that a Review of the Atypical Scheme for non-EEA Crew in the Irish Fishing Fleet has been conducted and published.

The report is a detailed assessment of the Scheme and has taken into account the submissions and views of various stakeholders, including the fishing industry, the relevant state bodies and the permission holders themselves.

It is apparent from the report that this is a complex area, with many stakeholders.
The report has been jointly welcomed by the Minister for Justice, the Minster of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The notice states that the key recommendation of the report is that:
‘the employment of non-EEA crew in the Irish Fishing Fleet be provided for under the Employment Permit system, instead of the Atypical Working Scheme.’

Since its inception in 2016 there have been multiple and serious concerns regarding the operation of the A typical working scheme for non-EEA fisherman in the State. The legality of the operation of the scheme has also been challenged through High Court litigation.

The report outlines that 337 persons have been granted permission under this scheme since 2016. Half of the persons are Filipino nationals, with 85% being from either Philippines, Ghana Indonesia and Egypt.

In 2019, a number of changes were made to the scheme to attempt to alleviate the concerns and the serious issues raised by permission holders and NGOs. It also followed a report by Maynooth University into the area , which can be accessed here https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document/Experiences%20of%20Non%20EEA%20Workers%20in%20the%20Irish%20Fishing%20Industry.pdf

The report also highlights the media coverage of the industry and the risk of Ireland facing sanctions by U.S. authorities after a U.S.-based human rights campaign group filed a report with American authorities alleging exploitation of migrant workers aboard Irish fishing vessels.

The report has concluded that the most appropriate course of action is to end the A typical working scheme for Non-EEA fishermen.

The recommendation is that persons may apply to work and reside in the State as fisherman, by obtaining an Employment Permit from the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment. This will involve the removal of fishermen from the ineligible employment list and will result in the salary required to employ a fisherman in the state rising in line with Employment permit legislation, the minimum allowable salary being €30,000 per annum based on 39 hours per week. It would also result in the oversight of granting permission to individuals to work in the Stats as fisherman would be with the DETE. This would seem appropriate given that Department’s responsibility for the oversight of compliance with employment legislation.

Many stakeholders in their submissions argued that Stamp 4 should be granted on a general basis to all individuals currently here in the State under the Scheme.

The report has concluded that it cannot recommend a general granting of Stamp 4 permission on a universal basis to the holders of A typical permission to work in the State as fisherman. It has been concluded that this would treat this group of persons more favourably that other persons resident in the State on A typical permission, such as nurses and locum doctors.
The report has stated that it is view of the relevant authorities that it would not be possible to grant Stamp 4 generally to all persons resident in the State on A typical permission, as to grant a general Stamp 4 to healthcare workers would be in breach of international commitments.

Therefore, it is not considered ‘prudent to make one cohort of holders of permission under the Atypical Working Scheme eligible for a permission which cannot, due to international commitments, be made available to other holders of identical permission.’

Through the employment permit system, persons can apply for Stamp 4 permission after two years of holding critical skills permit and after five years of holding a general employment permit.
The recommendation is that non-EEA sea fishers could be eligible to apply for Stamp 4 permission after two years, which is the same criteria applied to critical skills permit holders.

We submit that the individuals who have already resided in the State for five years under this scheme should be granted Stamp 4 at this stage on an individual basis. We submit that the Minister has the ability to grant such permission in an individual case pursuant to Section 4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004 in an individual case.

The report states that 120 persons appear to be eligible to apply for naturalisation at this stage, given their period of residence in the State under this scheme. We submit it would be fair and reasonable that those individuals would be granted Stamp 4 pursuant to Section 4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004, given the processing time for naturalisation application and also the potential impact of absences from the State for the purposes of being granted naturalisation.

The full review can be accessed here
https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Report-of-the-Review-Group.pdf

The Minister’s notice can be accessed here:

If you have been impacted by the above, please do not hesitate to contact Berkeley Solicitors.

RUSSIAN AND BELARUSIAN CITIZENS REMOVED FROM IRISH SHORT STAY VISA WAIVER SCHEME

SUBMISSION OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS WITH VISA APPLICATIONS

Berkeley Solicitors has been informed from a number of clients that are submitting visa applications via VFS centres that their original documents are not being retained for the processing of their applications.

We have recently received confirmation that VFS staff act on behalf of the Department of Justice in accessing original documents for the purposes of visa applications.

We are advised that staff at the VFS centres assess the Applicant’s original documents for the required attestations and then scan these documents.

We have been advised that the original documents are then handed back to the Applicants and are not passed on to ISD officials for the processing of such applications.

We have been informed that this practice is currently being enacted on a phased bases across Irish visa offices globally.

This is a point of great concern as we understand the ISD requirements require submission of original documents in support of visa applications.

We have always advised our clients that original, attested documents are extremely important for a visa application, and it therefore causes much concern when they are not accepted for the processing of an application.

We request that the policy in respect of providing original documents for visa applications is published on the ISD website so that Applicants are aware of the current procedure.