If you are not an-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen and you wish to stay in Ireland for a period longer than 90 days you must apply for immigration permission and if successful register. For those who do not know there are a variety of categories under which immigration permission can be requested. The most common of which being to study, to work or to live with your spouse, partner, child or family member.
Berkeley Solicitors is acting for a number of applicants who currently have Judicial Review proceedings pending in the High Court challenging decisions of the Minister for Justice and Equality to refuse residence cards pursuant to to Directive 2004/38EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.
The cases addressing the issue of dependency under EU free movement law have been placed in a holding list, following the case of Khan v. Minister for Justice, (Unreported, High Court, Faherty J., 27 October 2017). The Khan case is currently under appeal to the Court of Appeal.
In Khan v. Minister for Justice, the High court granted an order of certiorari of a decision refusing residence cards to the parents of an adult EU citizen as qualifying family members, subject to establishing dependency.
The High Court held that the Minister had applied the wrong test that ‘it was impossible to live at a subsistence level’.
The meaning of dependency in EU free movement law is a well established principle.
In Case C-1/05 Jia v. Migrationsverket the Court of Justice defined dependency for the purposes of Directive 2004/38/EC as “the need for material support” to meet “essential needs”.
In Jia, there is no reference to it being a requirement of dependency that it was impossible to live at a “subsistence” level if financial support from the EU citizen or his or her spouse was not maintained. The Jia test does not require that the family members have to be totally dependent on the EU citizen.
In the Khan case, the High Court relied on the following paragraph of the CJEU in Reyes:
“In order to determine the existence of such dependence, the host member state must assess whether, having regard to his financial and social conditions, [the family member] is not in a position to support himself” (emphasis added by Faherty J.).”
We would submit the test for dependency in this area of law is very well established. Decisions by the Minister applying the wrong legal tests may therefore be subject to challenge before the courts.
Further updates on the Khan case will be posted in due course.
Berkeley Solicitors, immigration law specialists, welcome the newly announced Humanitarian Admission Programme (IHAP). This programme is undoubtedly a positive development for many of our clients who could potentially benefit under this new scheme.
The Humanitarian Admission Programme 2, also known as “IHAP” allows naturalised Irish citizens, programme refugees, persons with Convention refugee status, and subsidiary protection status to apply for immediate eligible family members to join them in the State between May 14th 2018 and 30th June 2018. The scheme will therefore be closed on the 30th June 2018.
Up to 530 vulnerable family members will qualify for admission under the scheme. Beneficiaries accepted under the IHAP receive Programme Refugee Status from the Minister under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
In a press release dated the 12th May 2018 it is stated that the purpose of the scheme is to meet Ireland’s commitments in relation to the ongoing migration crisis. With this in mind, the scheme is limited to beneficiaries in states where they are in the “most vulnerable situations internationally”. In the press release Minister of State David Stanton TD states that:
“The IHAP is a humane and flexible response to the needs of those fleeing high-risk areas and will facilitate their reunion with family members in Ireland. The Programme reaffirms the Government’s commitment and ability to respond positively to humanitarian crises. Persons admitted under this programme will be part of the IRPP and will therefore receive a status in their own right rather than a dependency status on their family member. This is important for their long term integration and sense of belonging in our communities.”
The list of eligible countries is based on the UNHCR Annual Global Trend Reports which lists the top ten major source countries of refugees. INIS in their FAQ on the IHAP instructs that the current list of countries is “subject to change”. Beneficiaries must be nationals of one of the following countries to be eligible under the scheme:
- South Sudan
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Central African Republic
Those who are from one of the above eligible States must also fall under one of the categories provided under the Scheme. These are as follows:
- Adult Child (unmarried and without dependants)
- Minor Child (where the Minor Child is not eligible for reunification with a sponsor under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015. The Minor Child must be unmarried and without dependants)
- Parent (where not eligible for reunification with a sponsor under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015)
- A Minor Child for whom the Sponsor has parental responsibility (e.g. Orphaned Niece/Nephew/Grandchild, Sibling) (In certain circumstances, where a Sponsor does not have sole parental responsibility, the consent of the person that shares responsibility will be required)
- A vulnerable close family member for whom the Sponsor is the primary caregiver and who is not part of another family unit.
- The Sponsor’s spouse or civil partner as recognised under Irish law (where not eligible for reunification with a sponsor under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015) or the Sponsor’s de facto partner (may be granted to both opposite and same sex partners who have been together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership and have a mutual commitment to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others. The Sponsor must be in a position to provide sufficient evidence of a durable relationship.)
Under the IHAP scheme the Sponsor (i.e. the person residing in Ireland who is inviting a family member in the State) must themselves meet a number of requirements.
- The Sponsor must have been granted Convention refugee status, programme refugee status or subsidiary protection status in Ireland or be an Irish citizen
- The Sponsor must be residing in Ireland and complete the IHAP proposal on behalf of the family member they wish to join them in Ireland (i.e. the beneficiary)
- The Sponsor must be a person of “good character”.
While there are no explicit minimum financial requirements place on sponsors, such as a certain minimum income, nominations will be prioritised where the Sponsor is able to demonstrate that they can provide accommodation for their family member in Ireland. This is due to the ongoing housing crisis in Ireland.
There are no fees that must be paid by the sponsor to make an IHAP application. The sponsor may incur other costs relating to postage or translation for documents, if necessary.
One important point to note is that a proposal for a family member under IHAP cannot be made if there is an ongoing application for family reunification under the International Protection Act, 2015.
The introduction of IHAP is seen as a welcome change by Berkeley Solicitors. We hope that our clients eligible under this scheme have the opportunity to benefit. For further information on the scheme please see the INIS FAQ on IHAP and the IHAP application form., or contact our office by email or phone.
Berkeley Solicitors is happy to announce that the Irish Supreme Court has delivered its judgment in the cases of Luximon v Minister for Justice and Equality and Balchand v Minister for Justice and Equality.
These proceedings where both appealed from the Court of Appeal by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The outcome of this case is one that potentially affects a large number of our clients, and we note that this judgement is a positive judgement for many non-EEA persons resident in Ireland, who came to the State before 2011 as students. We submit that the case has helpfully clarified the Minsiter’s obligations when assessing applications under Section 4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004.
The History of the cases:
The cases of Luximon and Bachland concerned Mauritian nationals who first came to the State as students,11 years ago. Both applicants went on to have children after a number of years and viewed Ireland as their place of permanent residence. Through work, education and familial and social connections built over a decade these families had become well-established in the State.
In 2011 a new scheme was introduced entitled “O, registered in Ireland before 1st January 2011”. Under this scheme explicit time limits were set regarding the length of time students could remain in the State.
Between 2012 and 2013 both applicants made applications under Section 4 (7) of the Immigration Act 2004 which states as follows:
“A permission under this section may be renewed or varied by the Minister, or by an immigration officer on his or her behalf, on application therefore by the non-national concerned.”
Following the refusal of their Section 4(7) application, Danye Luximon and her daughter challenged this decision in the High Court.
The applicants, in their High Court challenge, contended that the statutory discretion under Section 4 of the 2004 Act must be exercised in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 itself, the Constitution, and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The High Court quashed the minister’s decision, holding that the Minister had an obligation to consider family and private life rights when they arose in the context of a Change of Status application and that the Minister failed to comply with the principles of natural and constitutional justice, and basic fairness of procedures by failing to make available the criteria under which she considered such applications. Budd J allowed an appeal by the Respondent on the basis that it was in the public interest.
The applicant family in Bachland was unsuccessful in challenging the refusal of their Section 4(7) application in the High Court, with the High Court finding on this occasion that the applicant’s residence was “precarious” in nature.
Both cases where appealed to the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal found for the applicants in both cases and affirmed the decision in the High Court of Budd J.
The Court of Appeal judgement was appealed to the Supreme Court by the Respondent (The Minister for Justice and Equality).
Supreme Court Judgement
by Mr Justice Mac Menamin, it was held that the Minister for Justice must take account of an individual’s rights to private and family life under Article 8 of the ECHR in assessing applications under section 4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004.
Each case should be assessed on the particular facts of the case at hand. Any decision made without taking the individual’s private life into consideration is “unlawful”.
The Judge disagreed with the finding of the High Court in the Bachland case, that the applicant’s immigration status was “precarious”, stating that this is typically used in jurisprudence to refer to those whose status is “attenuated” or weak.
The Judge on the contrary found that the applicants are “lawful, long-duration residents”.
Notably the judgement goes on to find that even if a person’s position was indeed “precarious” that this would not absolve the Minister of observing their duty of fairness.
The Judge differentiated the facts of these case from cases concerning short-term visitors, those in temporary employment, asylum seekers and those without established links to the state.
The Judge also stressed that this judgement only required the Minister for Justice to give “consideration” to the the right to private life.
Justice Mac Menamin found that the way in which the Minister for Justice had refused the Section 4(7) applications of the applicants to be unlawful.
Justice Mac Menamin stressed in their judgement that the judgement was based entirely on the facts at hand, and that this judgement would not apply to all cases.
Justice Mac Menamin in particular emphasises the fact that the applicants came to the State lawfully and were long term established residents and had at all times renewed or attempted to renew their permission to remain.
Reactions to the Supreme Court’s judgement have generally been very positive. We refer to the statement of Ms Jane O’Connell, Legal Officer in MRCI:
“The Court emphasised the need for fairness and transparency in Ireland’s immigration policies. This does not mean regularisation for everyone or even for people who meet certain criteria, but it may at last mean a move towards a more humane immigration system in Ireland. We commend both families involved – it takes great bravery to go up against the State, particularly as a migrant.”
We also note the statement of the Department of Justice and Equality made to TheJournal.ie.
“The Supreme Court judgement in this complex case is only recently to hand. The Department of Justice and Equality will require some time to examine and assess its implications in greater detail in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.”
It remains to be seen how this judgement will affect the large number of persons whose applications under Section 4(7) have been pending, awaiting this judgement.
It appears to us to be a positive and helpful judgement from the Supreme Court and we hope that it will result in the issuance of positive decisions in the near future.
We wish to congratulate the families involved in these important cases and their legal teams.
Once the practical effect of this judgement becomes clear we will update The Immigration Blog.
On the 26th February 2018, Mr Justice Humphries delivered his judgement in the three test cases concerning the Minister of Justice and Equality’s recent decisions to refuse family reunification to naturalized refugees.
The cases were chosen to represent a larger number of cases currently in the High Court, all challenging the Minister of Justice and Equality’s recent decisions to refuse family reunification to naturalized refugees. These decisions were issued by the Minister contrast to the former policy to accept that naturalized refugees continued to have the rights to family reunification pursuant to the 1996 Refugee Act. An internal policy change implemented by the Minister, without notice to the applicants, resulted in the refusal of a large number of applications in circumstances where they would have previously been granted family reunification.
The Minister argued that a refugee ceases to be a refugee on acquiring Irish citizenship pursuant the definition of a refugee in national and international law, and a formal statutory provision for the revocation of their refugee status is not required.
The applicants argued that a formal withdrawal or cessation of refugee status is required by statutory provision, and while this is implemented in the International Protection Act 2015, it was not implemented under the Refugee Act 1996 as amended.
Mr Justice Humphries found in favour of the State, indicating that the cessation of refugee status is declaratory in nature, and refugees who become naturalized automatically cease to be a refugee, thus losing their refugee rights to family reunification.
The High Court decision is now the subject of an appeal to the Court of Appeal. We will post further updates on this case when there are any developments in the Court of Appeal.
On the 7th March 2018, the Dail has commenced the process of ratification of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006, following the enactment of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will be signing the Instrument of Ratification, which will come into force 30 days after it is received by the UN.
Ireland will be the last member of the EU to ratify the 2006 Convention, despite having signed the framework in 2007.
Once ratification has been completed, the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will then have legal effect in the State and give specific legal rights to individuals with disabilities.
The Convention protects equal treatment for all people with disabilities with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has eight guiding principles: respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; equality of opportunity; accessibility; equality between men and women, and respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
In respect of immigration cases, this is a very relevant development. It is common that visas, residence permissions or family reunification applications are granted or refused on the basis of a person’s financial and employment circumstances. This has put some persons with disabilities at a specific disadvantage when they do not have the capacity to earn a living, and therefore would potentially be excluded from a particular visa or residence permission, or perhaps never benefit from the option of family reunification
This affects non EEA nationals in terms of applications for visas and residence permissions, and also Irish citizens and EEA citizens who are applying for family reunification where the applications have specific financial thresholds.
In the case of Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015, persons with disabilities are not included as a category of persons who are deemed to be exercising EU Treaty Rights. Both the Directive and Regulations are silent on the matter, and individual cases fall to be determined at the discretion of the Minister on a case by case basis.
We have made representations to the Minister on behalf of some clients with disabilities arguing that their disability cannot lawfully be relied on as a ground to deny them a visa, residence permission or family reunification permission when this would discriminate them against a person without such a disability.
The ratification of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is hugely significant as the Minster for Justice and Equality is now obliged to implement and protect the rights of persons with disabilities in all immigration cases, and such persons can rely on the Convention to enforce their rights in the determination of their immigration cases, and before the courts if necessary.
The past two years have seen a steep drop in the rate of successful humanitarian applications in the State. While 2015 saw a 60% rise in the granting of leave to remain over one year (Holland, 2015) the introduction of the International Protection Act, 2015 has seen the rate of humanitarian leave granted plummet to only 163 people in 2017, down from 465 in 2016 and 1,201 in 2015 (Power, 2018).
The Leave to Remain process is explained by the McMahon report (Department of Justice, 2015) as follows;
“The consideration by the Minister for Justice and Equality of whether or not to issue a deportation order in respect of a person who has been deemed not eligible for protection. If the decision is that a deportation order should not issue, leave to remain in the State is granted under Ministerial discretion following consideration of representations submitted, including in relation to the matters set out in section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.”
Attention was brought to this steep drop in humanitarian leave being granted by TD Catherine Martin of the Green Party, representing Dublin Rathdown. In response to Ms Martin’s parliamentary question, Minister Charlie Flanagan’s answer was as follows (Dáil Debates,23rd January 2018);
“I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the information sought by the Deputy is included in the table.
The number for 2017 is influenced by the introduction of the new International Protection Act which required significant changes to procedures as well as the introduction of the transition provisions of the Act which required a significant number of cases to revert for processing to the International Protection Office. All of this impacted on the number of cases brought to finality. With the new procedures bedded down the rate of processing is expected to increase significantly in 2018 and beyond.
Year Leave to Remain
As stated by Minister Flanagan, it is presumed that the drop in successful humanitarian leave applications is largely due to the introduction of the International Protection Act, 2015. The International Protection Act, 2015 was designed to streamline and improve the asylum process in the State, which was infamously overburdened and delayed. Minister Flanagan in the above statement, submits that the drop in successful humanitarian applications is due to moving all cases into the simplified asylum process introduced by the Act, and not due to an increased rate of rejection for applicants.
It remains to be seen whether this drop in applications is in fact due to the transitional issues associated with the State’s reform of the asylum and leave to remain process, or if it instead indicative of a continuing issues with delay in spite of the new Act.
Dáil Debates, Asylum Applications Data, 250, 23rd January 2018, [https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2018-01-23a.505&s=%22leave+to+remain%22#g506.q] [Accessed 6 Feb.2018].
Department of Justice (2015). Working Group to Report to Government Working Group on the Protection Process on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers. [online] Dublin: Department of Justice. Available at: http://justice.ie/en/JELR/Report%20to%20Government%20on%20Improvements%20to%20the%20Protection%20Process,%20including%20Direct%20Provision%20and%20Supports%20to%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf/Files/Report%20to%20Government%20on%20Improvements%20to%20the%20Protection%20Process,%20including%20Direct%20Provision%20and%20Supports%20to%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf [Accessed 6 Feb. 2018].
Holland, K. (2015). Number of asylum seekers given leave to stay up by 60%. Irish Times. [online] Available at: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/number-of-asylum-seekers-given-leave-to-stay-up-by-60-1.2437131 [Accessed 6 Feb. 2018].
Power, J. (2018). Sharp fall in asylum-seekers granted humanitarian reprieve. Irish Times. [online] Available at: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/sharp-fall-in-asylum-seekers-granted-humanitarian-reprieve-1.3379239?mode=amp [Accessed 6 Feb. 2018].
The case in question concerns an appeal by the employers, Ms Bernardine & Thomas McCormack against the Decision of an Adjudication Officer in the Labour Court.
Facts of the Case:
The AU pair in this case, a Brazilian national, came to Ireland on a Stamp 2 visa for the purpose of learning English. This Stamp 2 allowed her to work a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time, and 40 hours outside of term time. She was hired as an AU pair by the employers, Mr and Ms McCormack in February 2016. Ms Generoso was paid €150 a week and was provided with bed and lodgings. Ms Generoso’s effective hourly rate was €2.78 per hour.
During her time as an AU pair Ms Generoso worked 54 hours a week. She was required to work from 7am-5pm, as well as four hours of babysitting for her employers.
In July 2016, Ms Generoso gave Mr and Ms McCormack two days notice that she would be resigning. She stated that this was due to her poor working conditions.
Mr McCormack then asked Ms Generoso for four weeks pay, which was €540. In Court while giving evidence, Mr McCormack stated that this was because at the start of Ms Generoso’s employment she was told that four weeks’ notice was required.
Ms Generoso then gave Mr McCormack €510, which was all the money she had. She then borrowed €30 from a friend to make up the difference.
Following her resignation, Ms Generoso took legal proceedings against her employers under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994, where it was held that the Respondent was in breach of the Act by not providing the Complainant with a written contract of employment. That decision was not appealed.
Labour Court Proceedings:
Ms Generoso brought a claim under the 1991 Act to the Workplace Relations Commission on in September 2016 in which she alleged that the €510.00 acquired by Mr McCormack was unlawfully deducted from her wages.
The Court found that Ms Generoso was never given a written contract of employment. Under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act, 1973 at Section 6 an employee is obliged to give an employer one week’s notice when terminating employment if they have service of 13 weeks or more. This Act, the Court found, does not provide the employer with a remedy for when this is not complied with, nor does it allow for the taking of an unlawful payment by the employee to the employer.
In considering that the €510 given to the employer was unlawful, the Court referred to Section 5 of the 1991 Act which states that a payment can only be lawful, in respect of an omission on the part of he employee, if it is provided by the contract of employment or law. The Court found that payment in respect of Ms Generoso’s omission was not required by law or by contract.
In summary the Court found that the payment of €510 was not consented to by the Complainant, and found that the Respondents breached the 1991 Act when they demanded this unlawful payment, with the Court ordering the Respondents to repay the €510.00 in discharge of Ms Generoso’s claim.
The respondents appealed the above decision on mostly technical grounds, with one of the most interesting grounds of appeal being that the Complainant had no entitlement to make the complaint to the Labour Court under the 1991 Act because she was working under an illegal contract. It was submitted that the contract was illegal because Ms Generoso worked an average of 54 hours a week, which was in excess of her permitted hours under Stamp 2, with legal representation for the Respondents relying on Amjad Hussein v The Labour Court IEHC 364 where it was held that the Labour Court could not lawfully entertain an application for leave in respect of an employment contract which was substantially illegal.
This ground of appeal was wholly rejected by the Labour Court. It was found that Ms Generoso entered into a valid contract of employment, and that this contract could not be rendered illegal by the amount of hours her employers required her to work. The Court also distinguished this case from the case of Hussein, where the employee in that case Mr Younis had continued to work following the expiry of his work permit which was a criminal offence.
The Court then determined that Ms Generoso was owed arrears of wages in the amount of €4,947.05 in discharge of her claim.
The indications by the Supreme Court last year that they would hold the absolute ban on asylum-seekers working as unconstitutional was heralded as a hugely significant and positive change for those seeking asylum in Ireland, and was previously written about in our Blog. Recent developments however indicate that the State proposes to limit this right so that only a small minority of asylum-seekers can actually benefit.
The Supreme Court case of N.H.V -v- Minister for Justice & Equality and Others  IESC 35 was a significant case for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Court held that there was indeed a constitutional right to work under Article 40.3 of the Constitution, with O’Donnell J stating that employment goes to the “essence of human personality. Secondly, it was held that this constitutional right to work is applicable to asylum-seekers, although the Court did limit this slightly by accepting the legitimacy of a potential “pull” factor, and acknowledging that the Oireachtas may limit this right with reference to the Irish economy and other concerns. This affirms that while a right to work has been recognised, it is not on par with the entitlements of Irish citizens.
The Court stated that “in principle” they were willing to hold that the:
“[…]absolute prohibition on seeking of employment contained in s.9(4) ( and re-enacted in s.16(3)(b) of the 2015 Act ) is contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment.”
The Court then went on to state that due to the complex nature of this legal issue that they would remit the issue to the Oireachtas for a period of six months, and that following those six months the Court would invite to make submissions on how best the right to work could be realised.
Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan recently announced that Ireland would now opt in to the Reception-Conditions Directive, which provides asylum-seekers in other member-states that have opted in the right to work in certain circumstances. However, opting into the Directive would not be completed by the 9th February, the date on which the Supreme Court will rule the absolute ban on asylum-seekers working as unconstitutional.
As a result, the Government has proposed interim measures prior to the Directive coming into force in Ireland, where asylum-seekers can obtain employment permits to work in the State. These proposed interim measures have been strongly criticised by NGOs, legal professionals and academics. There measures propose that:
• If an asylum-seeker wishes to apply for a job, that job cannot be one that could be taken by an EU citizen or any other person with permission to work in the State.
• Employment that asylum-seekers take up must have a gross annual income of over €30,000.
• Areas of employment that are permitted are extremely restricted, with asylum-seekers not able to engage in healthcare, hospitality, social care, retail and many more.
These restrictions render the right to work of asylum-seekers extremely narrow, and will benefit only a very small number of asylum seekers. The restrictions have been criticised as having a gendered bias against women, with many of the restricted sectors such as social care made up largely of women.
The question remains as to what will become of these proposals once the Directive comes into force. The Dáil recently passed a motion allowing for the Government to opt into the Directive, but no examination or debate was made of the impact of this bill on asylum-seekers’ right to work.
It is worth considering what international best practice is with regard to asylum-seekers right to work. Our nearest neighbour, the United Kingdom, is also heavily criticised for its attitude with regard to asylum-seekers’ right to work, a waiting period of over 12 months before permission is granted, and this permission being granted on a case-by-case basis.
It is proposed that one example of best practice is that of Sweden. Sweden has one of the highest proportion of asylum seekers per thousand inhabitants, with a rate of 8.4 in comparison to the European average of 1.2. In Sweden, asylum-seekers receive a Certificate (AT-UND) which states that they do not need a work permit. Asylum-seekers are entitled to this certificate if:
• They provide proper identity papers or prove their identity in some other way,
• Their asylum application is being considered in Sweden,
• And there are “solid” reasons for their application for asylum.
This is a stark difference to that of the narrow and restrictive requirements to obtain a work permit for asylum-seekers in Ireland, and one which evidences the Irish governments’ attitude to those seeking asylum. While Minister Flanagan commented that individuals in Direct Provision would “soon have access to the labour market will also see their capacity for economic independence enhanced”, it remains to be seen how his Department’s proposals achieve this in any material way.
Mr Charlie Flanagan T.D., the Minister for Justice and Equality has recently announced the lifting of the visa requirement for UAE citizens travelling to Ireland.
This change will be in effect from the 31st January 2018, with Minister Flanagan signing an order to this effect.
This change was affected with regard to the growing economic ties between Ireland and the United Arab Emirates, with Minister Flanagan stating that the lifting of the visa requirement was necessary so that areas such as trade, tourism, education, healthcare and technology can continue to strengthen and improve between the two states.
The Minister stated:
“As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I led a trade mission to UAE, made an official visit there and welcomed Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Dublin. Excellent air-links between our two countries are facilitating growing partnerships in trade, education and tourism in particular. A large number of Irish citizens now live in the Emirates and many Irish companies are active on the ground where we have a busy Embassy promoting Irish interests. The UAE is a key economic partner for Ireland and one of our priority markets. I am very pleased we have been able to lift the visa requirement for citizens of the UAE who wish to travel to Ireland and we look forward to welcoming increased numbers of Emirati business people, students and tourists who will travel to Ireland following the lifting of the visa requirement.”
This change is a welcome development for the many clients of Berkeley Solicitors who frequently travel to the United Arab Emirates or have close family connections in the UAE.