PROCESSING TIMES FOR FOREIGN BIRTH REGISTRATION

PROCESSING TIMES FOR FOREIGN BIRTH REGISTRATION

The Department of Foreign Affairs have stated on their website that the current estimated processing time for Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) application is over two years.

Otherwise known as Citizenship by descent, FBR applications are a complex process, requiring applicants to submit official documentation relating to three generations, which may have been issued by several jurisdictions.

The DFA’s guidance for FBR applications on their website states that there has been an increase in the number of these applications being submitted, and notably they have seen an increase in the number of incomplete applications.

The DFA’s guidance emphasises the importance of submitting the required, original documentation and paying the appropriate fee at the time of application to avoid any delays in the processing of your application.

At present the guidance states that after all the correct physical documents are received it takes over two years to process a Foreign Birth Registration application. The website further sates however that they have set up a new Foreign Birth Registration teams in an aim to manage the increased volume of applications and efficiency.

This blog has been drafted with reference to the following website:

https://www.ireland.ie/en/dfa/citizenship/#Foreign%20Birth%20Registration

For further details on applying for Foreign Birth Registration, please visit the following link:

https://www.ireland.ie/en/dfa/citizenship/born-abroad/registering-a-foreign-birth/

Berkeley Solicitors are available to provide support and assistance to any Foreign Birth Registration applicants.

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.

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

Berkeley Solicitors have recently received a number of successful naturalisation decisions for clients resident on Stamp 0 permission.

In approving the applications for our clients, the Department of Justice have accepted that Stamp 0 is reckonable residence for the purposes of naturalisation.

These decisions are significant given that the Department have previously maintained that Stamp 0 residence permission is a low-level immigration status which is granted for a limited and specific stay in Ireland.

There are three main types of persons eligible for Stamp 0:

 

  1. Elderly dependent relatives
  2. Persons of independent means
  3. Visiting academics

This is very welcome news for individuals resident in the State on Stamp 0 permission, many of whom have made Ireland their permanent home but have concerns regarding their reckonable residence in the State for the purposes of naturalisation.

Although acquiring citizenship is a privilege and not a right and is subject to the Minister’s absolute discretion, the Minister must act within the confines of the statutory definition of reckonable residence as defined at Section 16 A of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

We at Berkeley Solicitors welcome this very encouraging development surrounding reckonable residence and we congratulate our clients on their successful applications.

We are happy to advise any clients wishing to pursue their naturalisation application.

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

NOTICE ON NON-EEA NATIONALS AWAITING AN EU NATIONAL PASSPORT

The Immigration Service Delivery have published a notice in response queries of Non-EEA nationals who await the issuance of an EU Passport, of their status and obligations in the State.

The notice has clarified that Non-EEA nationals, who are in receipt of court documents stating that they are citizens of an EU country, must hold a valid immigration permission to remain legally resident in the State.

Individuals in this position therefore must ensure to contact their national embassy to keep their Irish immigration permissions up to date while they await their EU passport. Court documents stating that they are citizens of an EU country will not suffice in proving their legal residency in the interim.

Individuals must also ensure to comply with the obligations of their immigration permissions whilst they await the issuance of their EU passport.

Please see the below link for further details:

 

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/non-eea-national-awaiting-an-eu-national-passport/

 

Berkeley Solicitors are available to provide support and assistance to any residence applicants.

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.

MINISTER RICHMOND ANNOUNCES LARGEST EVER EXPANSION TO THE EMPLOYMENT PERMITS SYSTEM

On the 20th of December 2023, the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retails announced significant changes to Ireland’s employment permits system. These changes include an increase in salary thresholds for permit holders and an additional 43 occupations becoming eligible for employment permits.

Minister Richmond stated that the changes have been introduced to reflect both inflation and economic growth in the State and the necessity and of the skills, experience and cultural diversity that Migrants bring to Irish society.

From 17th January 2024, the minimum salary for new General Employment Permits (GEP) will increase from €30,000 to €34,000. Employers seeking to hire GEP roles are advised should advertise this salary rate as Labour Market Needs Tests that do not reflect the appropriate salary will be rejected.

The new standard Critical Skills Employment Permit minimum salary requirement has also increased to from €34,000 to €38,000.

Health care assistants and home carers salary requirement will increase from €27,000 to €30,000 and the minimum salary for meat processors and horticultural workers will increase from €22,000 to €30,000. These changes bring all permit holders in line with the minimum salary requirement for family reunification as many workers in these roles will wish to avail of this.

Additionally, a number of occupations have now become eligible for employment permits as of 20th December 2023.

Occupations added to the Critical Skills Occupations List include:

  • Professional Forester
  • Resource modelling, earth observation and data analyst
  • Meteorologist
  • Operational Forecaster
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • BIM Manager
  • Optometrist (Ophthalmic Optician)
  • Commercial Manager
  • BIM Coordinator/Technician
  • Estimator

Occupations eligible for a General Employment Permit:

  • Residential Day and Domiciliary Case Managers – in Disability Services
  • Play Therapist – in Disability Services
  • Genetic Counsellor
  • Social Care Worker
  • Family Support Workers – in Disability Services
  • Project Offices, Disability
  • Support Worker (social, community, public and charity)
  • Guide Dog Mobility Instructor for the Visually Impaired
  • Autism Assistance Dog Instructor
  • Pig Managers
  • Smiths and forge workers
  • Moulders, core makers and die casters
  • Metal plate workers and riveters
  • Car mechanic, Motor mechanic, Auto electrician, Motor vehicle technician
  • HGV mechanic
  • Vehicle body builders and repairers/Body shop panel beaters
  • Electrician, electrical contractor, electrical engineer,
  • Vehicle paint technician
  • Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades supervisors
  • Upholstery and furniture operatives
  • Butchers/(de)boner
  • Baker
  • Furniture makers and other craft woodworkers
  • Senior Care Workers – in Disability Services
  • Textile Process Operatives
  • Wood Machine Operatives
  • Saw Doctor/Wood Machine Mechanic
  • Armature Rewinder
  • Pig Farm Assistants
  • Speciality Forestry Harvesting Technician

 

Further occupations which had previously been made eligible for General Employment Permits have had their quotas extended as follows:

  • 1,000 GEPs for meat processing operatives
  • 350 GEPs for butcher/deboners
  • 350 GEPs for dairy farm assistants
  • 1,000 GEPs have been provided for horticultural workers to support the sector until the introduction of the Seasonal Employment Permit 

 

For further information, please see the below guidance note published by the Department of Enterprise:

https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/publications/publication-files/advisory-note-users-of-employment-permit-system.pdf

 

Please see also the below link for details of Minister Richmond’s announcement:

https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/news-and-events/department-news/2023/december/20122023.html

 

Berkeley Solicitors are available to provide support and assistance to any employment permit applicants.

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.

IMMIGRATION SERVICE DELIVERY ANNOUNCE INITIATIVE TO FACILITATE CUSTOMER TRAVELLING AT CHRISTMAS

The Minister for Justice recently published a notice on their website to facilitate customers who may wish to travel over the Christmas and New Year period.

The Travel Confirmation Notice states that Non-EU/EEA residents who have submitted an application to renew their permission in advance of its expiry, may use their current recently expired IRP card to travel between 6th December 2023 and 31st January 2024.

The notice has been introduced in consideration of the current backlog in processing renewals.

 

The notice only applies to persons who have submitted an application to renew their permission, prior to its expiry. The entitlement will not apply to persons who submitted an application for renewal after its expiry.

To avail if this notice, persons should have the following on hand for their travels during this period:

 

 

The ISD state that they have advised all airlines and foreign missions of the Irish initiative in place of this note, however it cannot force them to comply.

From the 31st of January 2024 onwards, a valid in date IRP card and/or appropriate visa will be required where non-nationals intend to re-enter the State.

 

For further details of the initiative please see the below link:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/immigration-service-delivery-isd-announces-initiative-to-facilitate-customers-travelling-at-christmas/

 

For frequently asked questions of the notice, please see the below link:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/ISD-Website-Travel-Notice-FAQs-2023-1.pdf

 

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.

 

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

RECENT REFUSALS OF EMPLOYMENT PERMIT VISAS

Late last year, Ms Justice Bolger of the High Court delivered a judgement in the case of S v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 578, which we discuss in detail in our blog post available here: https://berkeleysolicitors.ie/recent-high-court-judgement-refusal-of-travel-visa-for-employment-permit-holder/

 

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, seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision. Ms Justice Bolger found for the applicant and granted the order quashing the decision.

 

We noted in our blog post that this case raises the 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 who 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 subjected to a review by the Minister for Justice in their visa application.

 

The Minister in respect of the Applicant in the S case had found in the refusal decision that the Applicant had not provided sufficient evidence that they had the appropriate skills, knowledge, or experience for the employment position in Ireland. The High Court found that a work permit does not constitute prima facie evidence that the Applicant has the skills and experience required for the proposed employment. However, the Court found that it also cannot simply be ignored.

 

The Minister for Justice does not limit her assessment of a 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. We are now seeing a series of visa refusals which rely on the S case to allow the Visa Officer to re-assess the Applicant’s suitability for the prospective employment. Some refusals purport to state, in the case of roles such as horticultural workers, meat processing operatives, dairy farm assistants, and healthcare assistants, as such roles require no or few qualifications or experience in circumstances where the employer will provide training, that the Visa Officer is entitled, “in the absence of such safeguards” to “thoroughly assess” an applicant’s suitability to perform their duties. We believe that many of these decisions may unlawfully ignore the employer’s duty to provide training in respect of these roles, and that Visa Office may be inferring an additional requirement at visa processing stage to show qualifications and experience in roles where no qualifications or experience are required by the Department of Enterprise.

 

We further note that these decisions may place an undue reliance on the S case to ignore the Department of Enterprise’s role in assessing a candidate’s suitability for a proposed role. Bolger J. stated at paragraph 37 that: “I do not consider the work permit constitutes the type of prima facie evidence that is contended for by the applicant. However, neither do I accept that it can be ignored.” [emphasis added]. We note that the context to the above quote is that the applicant in that case contended that the Visa Officer “cannot look behind the grant of the permit or require an applicant for a visa to show that they are qualified to do the job for which they were granted that permit.” This would preclude the Visa Offer from having any consideration of the Applicant’s qualifications, skills, or experience in respect of the proposed role. This was not considered to be the case by the High Court. However, importantly, neither can the issuance of the work permit by the Department of Enterprise be ignored in considering an Applicant’s suitability for the proposed role. Therefore, while the issuance of a work permit cannot in and of itself constitute evidence of qualifications and experience or the offer of sufficient training, it is certainly persuasive, and cannot be ignored in the Visa Officer’s consideration of an Applicant’s suitability for the proposed role.

 

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.

NEW ACT INTRODUCING SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP COMMENCED

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has commenced the majority of the provisions of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023.
This Act has introduced significant amendments to immigration, citizenship and naturalisation law in Ireland, to take effect from 31st July 2023. The major changes are outlined below:
The Act contains amendments to a number of provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts.
Children born in the State who are not entitled to Irish citizenship by birth, will now be eligible to apply for naturalisation after three years of reckonable residency in the State, reduced from five years……

Clients of Berkeley Solicitors win their judicial review case before the High Court in N.I. V MJE 2022 / 442 /JR

Clients of Berkeley Solicitors win their judicial review case before the High Court in N.I. V MJE 2022 / 442 /JR

Berkeley Solicitors would like to congratulate our clients who have received a positive judgement from the High Court today in their Judicial review proceedings.

The applicant, a minor Somali citizen, issued proceedings through her aunt and next friend challenging a decision of the Minister for Justice to refuse the her visa appeal to join her aunt and family in Ireland following the death of both her parents in Somalia.

We argued on behalf of our clients that the Minister acted in breach of fair procedures on a number of grounds. In refusing to grant the visa, it was submitted that the Minister failed to fully consider the best interests of the applicant in light of her particularly vulnerable position as a 14-year-old orphan residing outside her country of origin, without familial support.

It was submitted by the Respondent that the Applicant had failed to show sufficient evidence of a familial link between the applicant and the sponsor. Furthermore, it was submitted that the sponsor did not prove that she ‘is, or ever had been, socially or financially dependent on the sponsor’. The Minister also considered that the adoption of the Applicant was not recognisable under Irish law in light of the fact that there is no bilateral treaty in existence between Ireland and Somalia governing adoptions and similarly, that Somalia is not a party to the Hague Convention.

As a result, the Minister held that neither Article 41 of the Constitution nor Article 8 of the ECHR protecting the right to family life were applicable to the Applicant and the sponsor.
In setting aside the decision of the Minister, Mr Justice Barr held that the decision maker erred on a number of grounds in failing to recognise that a 14-year old orphan, ‘without any family support in a very unstable country, was not in an extremely vulnerable position, such that it constituted exceptional circumstances’.

Acknowledging the importance of family reunification in situations where individuals had fled persecution, Justice Barr held the Respondent was wrong in concluding that ‘there was no documentary evidence of familial relationship between the applicant and sponsor’. It was accepted that a number of important documents to this effect had been submitted by the Applicant, including a court order transferring guardianship of the application to the sponsor.

Furthermore, the emphasis placed by the decision maker on the issue of adoption as a basis for refusal, ‘an argument that was never put forward by the applicant, nor was put to her for comment’, was held to have breached the applicants right to fair procedure, rendering the decision ‘fatally flawed’.

Referring to the case of Tanda-Muzinga v France (2260/2010), the following passage was highlighted by the Court:
‘there exists a consensus at international and European level on the need for refugees to benefit from a family reunification procedure that is more favourable than that foreseen for other aliens, as evidenced by the remit and the activities of the UNHCR and the standards set out in Directive 2003/86 EC of the European Union’.

It was highlighted by the Court that this obligation is envisioned under Irish law in s.56 of the International Protection Act, 2015. Similarly, in line with our duties under Article 10.1 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, that ‘applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner’.

Significantly, it was held that the Appeals officer hadn’t sufficiently considered ‘the extremely adverse consequences’ the refusal decision represented for the applicant. As a result, the Court held that the decision clearly constituted ‘exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature, which would have justified a departure from the financial requirements of the policy’.
The Judgement will be available on the High Court webpage in the coming days.

Our office wishes to congratulate our clients on this positive development in their case today and would also like to thank our counsel for their dedicated work on this case.

RECENT UPDATES TO DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALISATION APPLICATIONS

The Department of Justice have recently made a number of changes to the documentary requirements for naturalisation applications.

On 21st April 2023, a new notice was published on the Minister’s website confirming that all new applicants for naturalisation are only required to provide a certified colour copy of the biometric page of their current passport. The colour copy of the biometric page can be certified by a Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths, Peace Commissioner or Notary Public.

This replaces the old system introduced in January 2022 which required applicants to provide a full certified copy of their current passport and any previous passports valid during the period of reckonable residency claimed.

The full notice is available here: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/further-guidance-on-new-passport-process-when-submitting-an-application-for-naturalisation/

The Department also introduced a new Citizenship Guidance Document on 24th May 2023, outlining a number of changes to the scorecard system for proofs of identity and residence.

The Document outlines a new two-part system in which applicants exhibit their residency in Ireland for the periods of reckonable residency claimed.

For each of these years, applicants must provide one Type A document, worth 100 points, and one Type B document, worth 50 points.

Applicants are required to attain 150 points for proofs of identity and proofs of residence.

However, if applicants are unable to meet the 150-point threshold for any of the years, applicants can prepare a ‘residential proof affidavit’ to address the shortfall.

The Citizenship Guidance Document can be accessed here: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Citizenship-Guidance-Document.pdf

Berkeley Solicitors is highly specialised in citizenship applications. Please do contact us if you need advice or assistance in this regard.

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS WIN THEIR CASE BEFORE THE HIGH COURT IN H AND ORS V MINISTER FOR JUSTICE 2022 No 553 JR

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS WIN THEIR CASE BEFORE THE HIGH COURT IN H AND ORS V MINISTER FOR JUSTICE 2022 No 553 JR

Berkeley Solicitors would like to congratulate our client who was successful in her proceedings today.
The applicant is a Somali woman who issued proceedings to challenge the decision of the Minister of Justice refusing long stay visas for her four minor children to join her in Ireland.

The case was brought by way of Judicial Review and was heard by Mr Justice Barr.

In issuing his judgment, Mr Justice Barr found that the key issue in this case was the exceptional humanitarian circumstances that were at play. Justice Barr found that ‘there was no evidence that the decision maker engaged in any real way’ with such factors. Justice Barr submitted throughout his judgment that the respondent failed to take into account ‘the very significant personal dilemma that faced by (the applicant) at the time’ as well as the state of deep political and social unrest faced by citizens in Somalia.

The case concerned a Somali woman who had fled to Ireland to join her sister by way of family reunification under S.18(4) of the Refugee Act 1996. The applicant subsequently applied for her minor children to join her in the State pursuant to the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification, however her application, and appeal on this decision were refused.

The respondent submitted there was insufficient evidence to corroborate a familial link between the mother and the minor applicants, stating that in entering Ireland:

‘she relinquished her role as the primary caregiver, with the knowledge that the Family Reunification appeal may be refused.’

Mr Justice Barr submitted that such a finding by the Minister was harsh, unfair and irrational.

The respondents further submitted that the applicant was not an eligible sponsor for the visa applications for her children as she had not resided for longer than one year in the State as required by paragraph 16.4 of the Policy Document.

Mr Justice Barr submitted that this case is of an exceptional humanitarian nature and therefore the policy can be departed from in such circumstances pursuant to paragraph 1.12 of the Policy Document:

‘While this document sets down guidelines for the processing of cases, it is intended that decision makers will retain the discretion to grant family reunification in cases that on the face of it do not appear to meet the requirements of the policy. This is to allow the system to deal with those rare cases that present an exceptional set of circumstances, normally humanitarian, that would suggest that the appropriate and proportionate decision should be positive’
The respondents further submitted that the test in finding whether the case in question was of an exceptional humanitarian nature was whether it could be demonstrated that ‘their circumstances are more severe to that of other Somali citizens’

The court found that the decision maker fell into error in making this finding. Mr Justice Barr stated that in order to circumvent the requirements of the policy document it is only necessary for them to establish that they constitute an exceptional set of circumstances. It was found that this ‘does not mean they have to prove their circumstances within the particular country in question are exceptional by the standards of that country.’

Mr Justice Barr also submitted that any submission made by the Minister in relation to errors in spelling on the applicant’s documents, occurring as a result of translations, were of probative value and were made irrationally and unfairly.

Mr Justice Barr further submitted that the financial requirements of the policy document were applied against the applicant without proper consideration of the exceptional humanitarian circumstances.

Mr Justice Barr stated this it was a key issue of the case that the Minister did not engage in a real way the with the exceptional humanitarian circumstances of the case.

The court summarized the findings as follows:

‘In summary, the court holds that to have applied the eligibility criteria and the
financial requirements of the policy in refusing the visa applications on behalf of the
minor applicants, while effectively ignoring the past circumstances of the first
applicant and her children, together with their present circumstances in Somalia, and
in not considering whether these constituted exceptional circumstances, which
warranted a departure from the strict requirements of the policy, rendered the decision
irrational and unfair. On this basis it has to be set aside.’

The court ultimately issued an order of certiorari quashing the Minister’s decision to refuse the visa applications for the four minor applicants.
The full judgement can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/231745d1-c37c-45e1-a633-248484d0ebf0/2023_IEHC_316.pdf/pdf#view=fitH

We wish to extend our congratulations to our clients for this ruling.