MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES THE RESUMPTION OF SHORT STAY ENTRY VISA PROCESSING AND THE FINAL EXTENSION OF IMMIGRATION PERMISSIONS

Resumption of Short Stay Entry Visa Processing

On 10th September 2021, the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys TD and the Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne TD, announced the resumption of short stay entry visa processing. This came into effect on Monday, the 13th September 2021 and applications for short stay visas are now open.

Minister Humphreys stated that this decision is pursuant to the Government’s approach to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, Minister Humphreys highlighted that “all travellers arriving into Ireland must continue to comply fully with measures required by law including producing proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative PCR test.”

The resumption will allow nationals of visa required countries to travel to Ireland for the first time since March 2020. Minister Browne acknowledged the positive impact this will have for many,

“As Minister of State for Immigration I fully appreciate how difficult these restrictions, which were necessary to keep us all safe, have been for many people. As we continue to reopen our society, the resumption of short stay visa processing will be welcome news for people who want to travel to Ireland to visit family, to study or for business reasons.”

Information regarding countries which require a visa/ preclearance to enter Ireland can be found here.

The notice can be read in full here.

Final Extension of Immigration Permissions

On 24th September 2021, the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys and the Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne announced a final temporary extension of immigration international protection permissions to 15th January 2022. This extension applies to immigration and international protection permissions to reside in the State that are due to expire between 21st September 2021 and 15th January 2022.

It applies to all persons with a current valid permission, whether pursuant to domestic law or powers of the Minister, or pursuant to Directive 2004/38/EC (the EU Free Movement Directive).

All such permissions are automatically renewed by the Minister to the 15th January 2022.

Any permission that was renewed by the previous notices and was due to expire between 21st September 2021 and 15th January 2022 is automatically renewed by this notice until 15th January 2022. The automatic renewal is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions will continue to apply.

Announcing the measure, the Minister Humphreys commented:

“I want to reassure people whose immigration permissions are due to expire shortly that your legal status in the country will continue to be maintained. To do this, I am introducing a final automatic extension to 15 January 2022 for anyone already holding a valid permission.”

“This extension will benefit those that have so far been unable to get an appointment to register a first time permission or have yet to renew an existing permission. However, I must emphasise that this will be the final temporary extension and I strongly encourage everyone to use the time between now and 15 January to make all efforts do so and not to wait until the last minute when demand may be high.”

The notice further highlights that the Registration Office in Burgh Quay is open for appointments and customers based in Dublin can renew a permission online at https://inisonline.jahs.ie. For customers outside of Dublin, renewals are processed by the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Information in relation to registration offices located outside Dublin can be found at www.garda.ie/en/contact-us/station-directory.

The notice can be read in full here.

If you or a family member have queries about your immigration permission, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

CLIENT OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS GRANTED CERTIFICATE OF NATIONALITY FOR THEIR MINOR STATELESS CHILD

We at Berkeley Solicitors are delighted for our clients and their minor child who was granted a certificate of nationality pursuant to Section 28 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.

This is the second client of our office that has been issued with a certificate of nationality under the 1956 Act.

The applicant was a stateless child born to parents who have no nationality and who are recognised by the relevant foreign government as stateless. Our client was born in Ireland but was not entitled to citizenship by birth pursuant to Section 6A of the 1956 Act, as amended as their parents had not acquired three years reckonable residence prior to their birth.

There is currently no official system for the recognition of statelessness in these circumstances nor is a formal procedure in respect of the acquisition of citizenship pursuant to Section 6 (3) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended which states:

“A person born in the island of Ireland is an Irish citizen from birth if he or she is not entitled to citizenship of any other country.”

The granting of this application follows that our client is now recognised as an Irish citizen by birth on the basis that they are not entitled to any other nationality.

This is another significant decision for stateless persons who may have a baby born in Ireland who is not entitled to any citizenship from another country, and it has become clear to us that this it is entirely possible for the Minister to issue certificates of nationality pursuant to Section 6(3) of the 1965 Act where appropriate.

We at Berkeley Solicitors would be happy to advise any clients in similar situations and would encourage you or any family members in such positions to contact our office.

UPDATE ON SCHEME TO REGULARISE UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS

Following a public forum for discussions with immigration and refugee organisations on the 23rd July 2021, the Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration provided an update on the scheme to regularise undocumented migrants in the State.

The scheme will allow for undocumented migrants who have been living in the State for four years, or three years if they have children to apply to regularise their status in the State.

It is expected that the scheme will be brought to Cabinet for approval in September and will be open for applications by the end of the year.

Minister James Browne has stated that:

‘this scheme will provide an opportunity for those who meet its criteria to remain and reside in the State and to become part of mainstream Irish society rather than living on its margins.’

As a result of this scheme ‘successful applicants will receive an immigration permission, access to the labour market and will be able to begin the process of becoming Irish citizens.’

The full announcement can be read at:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR21000187

It is indicated in the Irish Times article dated Friday the 23rd July 2021 that it is unlikely that undocumented migrants who have been issued a deportation order on the basis of criminal charges or offences will be eligible to apply through the scheme.

The possibility of including those who have been issued deportation orders for other reasons is currently being considered.

Further details regarding the scheme can be found at the Irish Times article in the below link:

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/scheme-to-regularise-undocumented-migrants-may-open-in-november-1.4628945?mode=amp&fbclid=IwAR1jyh61fo6iYplTsznGJiqiuvOlcHrpocBC8QkWokFR5cB_ekr8sfnjW_I

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are affected by this notice or by the matters raised in this blog.

 

IILA

FOUNDING OF THE IRISH IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION

Karen Berkeley is proud to be a founding member of the Irish Immigration Lawyers Association.

The IILA will be launched on Friday 23rd July 2021 at 3 pm and will include addresses from An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and High Court Judge Tara Burns who is in charge of the asylum and immigration list.

The Irish Immigration Lawyers Association will:

  • Run regular CPD events,
  • Have an online forum for the purpose of sharing and exchanging knowledge, experience and research,
  • Liaise with relevant Government departments, the Courts Service, Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Immigration, Asylum and Citizenship Bar Association in relation to issues of practice and procedure or proposed legislative changes

Solicitors who hold a practising certificate and their associates can register their membership at www.iila.ie.

Further information on the IILA can be found at www.iila.ie

Berkeley Solicitors offers its congratulations to the Irish Immigration Lawyers Association and wishes it every success in the future.

KAREN BERKELEY ON THE ACTIVIST LAWYER PODCAST

Karen Berkeley was delighted to be invited as guest on to the Activist Lawyer podcast to discuss her experience working as an immigration solicitor.

Check out the conversation here:

EMPLOYMENT PERMITS NOW OPEN TO HEALTHCARE ASSISTANTS

In an announcement published on 14th June 2021, Minister Damien English confirmed that healthcare assistants will now be eligible to apply for employment permits in the State.

Eligibility for employment permits in Ireland is determined by the critical skills list and ineligible occupations list which are reviewed twice a year.

In deciding to remove healthcare assistants from the ineligible list it was noted that:

‘evidence within the healthcare sector suggest increasing competition for skilled candidates in several healthcare roles.’

In order to be eligible applicants must have a QQI Level 5 qualification after two years of employment.

Minister English commented that:

‘Our economic migration policy accommodates the arrival of non-EEA nationals to fill skills and labour gaps in the domestic economy in the short to medium term.’

The full announcement can be read at:

https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/ab8d7-minister-damien-english-announces-changes-to-the-employment-permits-system/

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are affected by this notice or by the matters raised in this blog.

LIFTING OF TEMPORARY ENTRY AND TRANSIT VISA RESTRICTIONS

In an announcement published on 15th June 2021, the Minister for Justice announced that the temporary entry and transit visa restrictions which were imposed on the 28th January 2021 have been lifted for several countries.

It was announced that:

‘From 16th June 2021 passport holders of the following countries can now travel to Ireland without applying for an entry or transit visa in advance of departure:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • South Africa
  • Uruguay’

It is important to note that nationals of these countries will still be required to meet the entry conditions of their proposed visit to Ireland.

In its notice, the Department of Justice stated that:

‘conditions of entry may include a requirement to have obtained a pre-clearance for certain purposes of stay.’

Persons travelling to Ireland can verify if they require pre-clearance here:

http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/check-irish-visa

Those who do not abide by the necessary entry requirements face the risk of being refused entry at the border.

The full announcement can be found at:

http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/visas-updates

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are affected by this notice or by the matters raised in this blog.

ONUS ON MINISTER TO CARRY OUT RIGOROUS INVESTIGATIONS BEFORE MAKING AN ALLEGATION OF FRAUD AGAINST APPLICANTS

In the judgment of Mr Justice Max Barrett in the case of Jaysheering Saneecher and Nikolajs Samkovs V The Minister for Justice and Equality delivered on 5th May 2021 it was concluded that:

‘an investigation resulting in a determination that an application is fraudulent must be rigorous’

In this case, the Minister had disputed several facts which had been submitted by the applicants in their EU Treaty Rights application and therefore it was refused on fraudulent grounds.

In response to this Mr Justice Barrett commented that:

‘an error on a payslip could not, by itself, reasonably ground the serious finding that the applicant’s application was fraudulent.’ and that ‘the Minister’s investigation process in this regard was disproportionately lacking in rigour and did not yield a safe finding.’

Furthermore, Mr Justice Barrett was critical of the Minister’s failure to conduct a proportionality assessment and stated that:

‘a blanket cessation of any EU treaty rights presenting – is utterly dis-proportionate.’

This is a welcome judgment which reiterates that there is a strong onus on the Minister to carry out a rigorous and thorough investigation before making an allegation of fraud in an EU Treaty Rights application.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are affected by this notice or by the matters raised in this blog.

GUIDELINES ON MANDATORY HOTEL QUARANTINE IN IRELAND

On 26th March 2021 mandatory hotel quarantine was introduced in Ireland in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The system is legislated for under the Health (Amendment) Act 2021 which makes provision for:

‘the mandatory quarantine of persons coming into the State from certain areas from where there is known to be sustained human transmission of Covid-19 or any variant of concern.’

Therefore, any person travelling from a designated State or any person who has been in a designated State 14 days prior to entering Ireland is obliged to complete mandatory hotel quarantine which can be pre-booked at:

https://www.quarantinehotelsireland.ie/

Additionally, any person arriving from a non-designated State without a ‘not detected’ PCR test result taken within 72 hours of their arrival must also complete mandatory hotel quarantine.

The list of designated States is updated regularly and the full list can be found at:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b4020-travelling-to-ireland-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/#designated-states-mandatory-hotel-quarantine

There are several circumstances under which a person can be exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine.

These include:

  • transit passengers who do not leave the port or airport before leaving the State
  • a person who has completed a full course of an EMA approved vaccine
  • persons travelling to the State to compete in a Sports Ireland certified sports event
  • an adult resident of Ireland who is accompanying a child who was not born in the State and has never previously been in Ireland, travelling for the purpose of becoming ordinarily resident in Ireland
  • a person who is returning to Ireland having gone abroad for unavoidable, imperative and time-sensitive medical reasons and in possession of medical certification of this
  •  a person arriving in the State in the course of their duty and who hold a valid Annex 3 certificate (ensuring the availability of goods and essential services)
  • drivers of a heavy goods vehicle arriving in the State in the course of their duty
  • airline pilots, aircrew, maritime master or maritime crew and who arrive in the State in the course of performing their duties
  • a person travelling to the State pursuant to an arrest warrant, extradition proceedings or other mandatory legal obligation
  • a member of An Garda Síochána or Defence Forces travelling to the State in course of their duty
  • a person travelling to the State for unavoidable, imperative and time-sensitive medical reasons and these reasons are certified by a registered medical practitioner or person with equivalent qualifications outside the State
  • a person having been outside of the State to provide services to or perform the functions of an office holder (under any enactment or the Constitution) or a member of either house of the Oireachtas or the European Parliament
  • diplomats and certain other categories of persons entitled to privileges and immunities in the State

Further information on these categories can be found at:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3b8e1-mandatory-hotel-quarantine-your-questions-answered/#exemptions-from-mandatory-hotel-quarantine

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are affected by this notice or by the matters raised in this blog.

PROCESSING OF LONG STAY JOIN FAMILY AND EUTR VISAS TO RESUME

In a notice published on 20th May 2021, the Minister has updated the terms of the current suspension on the processing of visas due to Covid 19.

We are happy to report that all join family visa D visa applications, as well as applications submitted under Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 have been deemed Priority/Emergency cases and processing of same has resumed.

The processing of these applications has been suspended since 27th January 2021 due to the level 5 restrictions.

The Minister’s notice confirms:

 We can now confirm that we will add the following categories to the list of Priority/Emergency cases and resume processing of these categories immediately:-

Long-stay Join Family Members including

all Long Stay D Visa join family applications (includes Third country national family members of Irish nationals and persons exercising free movement under the EU Directive), and

Preclearance applications for: De Facto Partner of an Irish National; De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a non EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement and Non EEA Family members looking to join a UK National in Ireland.

People travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business ‘.

We are happy to see that the processing of join family visas has resumed, many families have endured undue heartache and extreme difficulties caused by the separation caused by this visa suspension. We submit that many families have had their family and private life rights unlawfully impacted and infringed by the Minister’s blanket suspension of join family visas.

We also note the resumed processing of entry visas pursuant to Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015. It is our view that the blanket suspension of these visas was in breach of the terms of the Directive and Regulations, as well as being more restrictive and out of step with the recommendations in Council Recommendation (EU) 2020/912.

The notice confirms that the suspension is to remain in place for short-stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under Emergency/Priority criteria.

The Minister has also updated its policy with regards to the assessment of imperative family reasons:

* Applicants seeking to travel for imperative family reasons are assessed on an individual basis and are largely confined to emergency cases that may arise in a family situation. Applications will be determined by examining the circumstances and supporting documentation of each case on an individual basis. While we appreciate how difficult it is to be separated from a loved one or to miss a family occasion or milestone, unfortunately these do not constitute an imperative family reason for a short stay visa application at this time due to public health concerns.

The notice states that the Minister will continue to process pending applications and applications received, however it is stated that for successful applications the visa/ preclearance will only be issued if the application meet the Emergency/Priority criteria.

The notice further confirms that the Minister will continue to process appeal applications. Again, it is stated that unless the application falls within the Emergency/Priority criteria the visa will not be issued until such time as restrictions have been lifted.

The Minister’s notice states that Priority/Emergency cases that will continue to be accepted and processed include the following:

  • People travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business [See clarification 1];
  • patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;
  • transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
  • pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
  • Join Family applications;
  • Preclearance applications from De Facto Partner of an Irish National, De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a non EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement and Family members looking to join a UK National in Ireland;
  • persons travelling for imperative family* or business reasons;
  • Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive;
  • diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel and police officers, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
  • passengers in transit;
  • seafarers;
  • journalists, when performing their duties.

The full announcement can be read at:

http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/visas-updates

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are affected by this notice or by the matters raised in this blog.