MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE RENEWAL AND REGISTRATION OF IMMIGRATION PERMISSIONS

On the 27th May 2022, the Minister of Justice announced new arrangements for the renewal and registration of immigration permissions. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister for Justice automatically extended immigration permissions of those who held a valid permission to reside in the State that expired in or after March 2020. The Minister of Justice made announcements on nine different occasions, each time stating that permissions would be automatically renewed to a certain date. The most recent extension announced by the Minister extended immigrations permissions to the 31st May 2022.

For the first time since March 2020, the Minister for Justice has announced that immigration permissions that expired between March 2020 and May 2022 will no longer be automatically renewed. The Minister announced that the exemption from renewing is to end from the 31st May 2022.

The extension of immigration permissions was a response by the Department of Justice to the ever-changing and uncertain health and travel restrictions that were in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In making the announcement, the Minister for Justice commented;

Now that those circumstances are returning to normal, it is important that we also return to a more normal way of doing business. This includes in relation to first-time registrations and renewals, and processes and procedures have been in place to allow customers to do so for some time now.

You can apply to renew your immigration permission online at https://inisonline.jahs.ie/. Those applying with a new passport can now also upload the bio-page of their passport online.

Previously, it was a requirement that you had to wait until four weeks before your permission was due to expire to be able to renew. This has been amended, and you can now renew your permission up to 12 weeks in advance of your permission expiring.

Those based in Dublin can register their immigration permission for the first time by calling Freephone number 1800 741 741. Those located outside of Dublin are required to make an appointment to register their immigration permission through the Garda Station network.

The Minister of Justice announced important clarifications for employees whose immigration permission has expired and who are unable to obtain a valid IRP card before the 31st May 2022. The Minister has confirmed non-EEA nationals can legally continue work while their application for renewal is processing once they can provide their employer with documentary evidence of same.

In the announcement, the Minister also confirmed that students who intend to enroll in third level education, can apply for a short-term letter of permission based on proof of application or enrolment once they have completed three eight-month English language courses.

 

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.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PUBLISHES “NOTICE FOR EMPLOYERS- MAY 2022”

On 23rd May 2022, the Department of Justice published on their website a “Notice for Employers- May 2022”

The notice relates to the Covid-19 temporary extensions of immigration permissions set to expire on the 31st May 2022. This temporary permission extension covers persons who have had their permission extended by any of the previous eight temporary extensions since March 2020. You can find our previous blog post regarding this extension here.

The Department of Justice has announced that there are no plans to issue an extension beyond the 31st May 2022 but states that those covered by the extension are entitled to remain, reside and work in the State if their permission previously granted permitted them to do so.

We submit that the notice of the 23rd May 2022 is problematic for a number of reasons.

A non-EEA national is required under Section 5 of the Immigration Act 2004 to hold a permission from the Minister to reside in the State. Immigration permission is generally held by an individual by virtue of a permission letter from the Minister for Justice accompanied by a certificate of registration in the form of an IRP card. In some instances, a person does not hold a permission letter and the permission comes directly from the registration certificate (IRP card).

By virtue of Section 9 of the Immigration Act 2004 Non-EEA nationals are also required to register their immigration permission and the Minister is obliged to facilitate this registration.

In many instances, persons whose permission will expire on 31st May 2022 do not have a current permission letter and are not registered as they have been relying or have had to rely on the Minister’s Covid 19 extensions of permission and therefore they will not be the holder of a valid immigration permission in the State from 31st May 2022 onwards.

The Minister’s notice further states: those covered by the extension are entitled to remain, reside and work in the State if their permission previously granted permitted them to do so..

…If your employee’s IRP card has expired and they are unable to obtain a valid registration card by 31 May 2022, they are still legally permitted to remain in the State provided they show proof that they have applied to renew their registration and are waiting for it to be processed.

We submit that this notice is not sufficient to deal with the major issue that a large number of persons are in fact going to fall undocumented on 31st May 2022 as they will now be without either a permission letter or an IRP card.

We would argue that all non-EEA nationals should be provided with a permission letter and or an IRP card to evidence their residence permission in the State and that persons should not be required to rely on this notice only as evidence of their legal residence. We submit that the Minister should extend the covid 19 extension of permission until the registration office is in a position to issue IRP cards in a timely and efficient manner.

The notice itself recognises the delay in the processing of registration applications and issuance of IRP cards:

“Please note that, in relation to renewals in the Dublin area, ISD is experiencing a very large volume of applications. The current processing time to renew a permission is 10 weeks. It can then take a further two weeks to receive a new IRP card.

We submit that the Minister is not complying with her obligations under Section 9 of the Immigration act 2004 in publishing a general notice rather than facilitating registrations and issuing IRP cards as required. We submit that the Minister should at minimum clarify that all permissions will be backdated to the date of application for renewal/ registration.

The notice has directed that those who hold employment permits must check with employment permits division of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment regarding the issuing of a new or renewed employment permit.

It appears that the Minister’s notice on the ISD webpage is also at odds with the published policy on the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s website which states:

“An employment permit is not a Residence Permission. In order to be lawfully resident in the State, it is a requirement that all non-EEA nationals in possession of an employment permit must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. It is in the best interest of the persons concerned to register as soon as possible following arrival. Delay in registering with Garda National Immigration Bureau could affect applications in the granting of long-term residency and/or citizenship. Immigration permission to remain should, where applicable, be renewed at least one month before the expiry date in order to avoid unlawful presence in the State.”

The current position is of particular concern to visas required nationals. Non-EEA nationals resident in Ireland are required to produce a valid IRP card to re-enter the State after travel. This means that those who are unable to secure an IRP card before the 31st May 2022 will be unable to leave the State until they have acquired a renewed IRP card. There is currently no system for processing re-entry visas for adults in the State since it was abolished in 2019 and therefore this would not be an alternative avenue visa required nationals could pursue should they be required to leave the State.   We submit that if the Minister is not in a position to issue IRP cards in a timely manner the re-entry visa system should now be re-opened to persons in this position.

We submit that the current position the Minister has adopted will also negatively impact those who are intending to apply for naturalisation.  A person’s reckonable residence is calculated from their permission letter and/or the date of their registration as reflected on their IRP card, in absence of either of these documents it appears affected persons are now set to lose out on reckonable residence for the period of time it takes to obtain their renewed IRP card. We expect this issue will cause complications for persons trying to meet the inflexible statutory requirements of reckonable residency under Section 16A of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 (as amended) which requires a 12 month period of continuous residence prior to the date of application. Thus a gap in registration will prevent many non nationals from applying for naturalization within the following 12 month period. We submit this is not an acceptable position.

 

Berkeley Solicitors has written to the Minister to outline our concerns.  We have submitted that the Covid-19 extension of permissions should be continued until the backlog in registrations is dealt with or that at a minimum the Minister’s notice should be amended to address the above issues, to include:

  • The immigration permission of any individual who is covered by notice is extended up until the date they receive their renewed IRP card;
  • The immigration permission of any individual who is covered by notice will be backdated to the date of application for registration and their IRP card will reflect this;
  • The re-entry visa system will be reopened for visa required nationals who need to travel whilst their registration application is being processed;
  • Persons covered by this notice should receive a letter/ confirmation their immigration permission from 31st May 2022 until the issuance of their new IRP card is reckonable for an application for naturalization.

The full notice can be found here:

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS APPROVED CERTIFICATES OF NATIONALITY

Berkeley Solicitors would like to congratulate our clients and their minor children who were recently granted certificates of nationality pursuant to Section 28 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.

The applicants were minor children who were born in the State but not entitled to citizenship at birth of any other country.

We applied to the Minister to grant them certificates of nationality on the basis that they were Irish citizens by birth pursuant to Section 6 (3) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended by section 3(1) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 2001, which states as follows:

“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 results in our clients being recognised as Irish citizens.

We are delighted in this wonderful outcome for our clients.

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.

ELIGIBILITY FOR TEMPORARY PROTECTION

On the 9th March 2022, the Department of Justice published an information page on Temporary Protection for persons fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. It is indicated that the categories of persons eligible for temporary protection are as follows:

  • Ukrainian nationals who were residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022;
  • Nationals of a third country (other than Ukraine) or stateless persons who would have benefited from international protection (e.g. Refugee status) or an equivalent national protection status in Ukraine and have been residing there before 24 February 2022
  • Family members of persons covered by a) and b) where the family already existed in Ukraine at the time of events leading to the mass influx prior to 24 February.
  • Those family members include a spouse or partner, unmarried minor children of either of them, and their other close dependent family relatives who have been living with them as part of the family unit.

 

It will also apply to people who had been residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 with a permanent Ukrainian residence permit, who cannot safely return to their country of origin.

Temporary protection may also be extended to other people who were legally residing in Ukraine who cannot safely return to their country of origin, including nationals from non-EU countries or stateless persons. People who can safely return to their country of origin will be assisted to do so.

Persons who are eligible for temporary protection will obtain a letter on arrival at Dublin Airport confirming this. The letter will give the holder permission to reside for twelve months, access to the labour market, plus access to public services.

Persons who are eligible for temporary protection and arrived in the State between the 24th February 2022 and the 9th March 2022 will not have received the temporary protection letter. The Department is making urgent arrangements to provide the temporary protection letter to this group of people.

The information notice does not address the situation of Ukrainians who arrived in the State prior to the 24th February 2022. Our office is making enquiries regarding the Department’s position on accepting applications for temporary protection from this category of persons.

If you are in this category, you should seek legal advice on your options, including the option  of submitting an application for international protection.

 

 

Please review the information note in full at the following link:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/information-on-temporary-protection-for-people-fleeing-the-conflict-in-ukraine/

THE TEMPORARY PROTECTION DIRECTIVE

Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20th July 2001, the ‘Temporary Protection Directive’, was established by the European Union as a response to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo in the 1990s, that highlighted the need for a tool to assist with max influxes of displaced persons into EU member states.

On the 4th March 2022, the Council adopted unanimously the implementing decision to activate the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since its establishment, for persons fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

The Council Implementing Decision that activated the Directive highlights;

The Union has shown and will continue to show its resolute support to Ukraine and its citizens, faced with an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian Federation.

The Directive is grounded in solidarity and promotes a balance of efforts between EU Member States. It is a legislative tool that enables Member States to offer persons legally resident in Ukraine who are fleeing the war, temporary protection upon arrival in an EU member state. Temporary protection will be initially provided for 12 months. Unless terminated, this period will be extended automatically by six monthly periods for a maximum of one year.

The Council Implementing Decision notes that those who are eligible for temporary protection under the Directive will “enjoy harmonised rights across the Union.” Persons holding temporary protection in Ireland will enjoy the rights afforded under Section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015;

(a) to seek and enter employment, to engage in any business, trade, or profession and to have access to education and training in the State in the like manner and to the like extent in all respects as an Irish citizen,

(b) to receive, upon and subject to the same conditions applicable to Irish citizens, the same medical care, and the same social welfare benefits as those to which Irish citizens are entitled, and

(c) to the same rights of travel in the State as those to which Irish citizens are entitled.

The below paragraphs outline who will be covered by the Directive;

  • Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24 February 2022 following the military invasion by Russian armed forces on that date;

 

  • Third-country nationals or stateless persons legally residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24 February 2022 following the military invasion by Russian armed forces on that date and who are unable to return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions because of the situation prevailing in that country. This could include persons enjoying refugee status or equivalent protection, or who were asylum seekers in Ukraine at the time of the events leading to the mass influx. Third-country nationals who were legally residing in Ukraine on a long-term basis at the time of the events leading to the mass influx should enjoy temporary protection regardless of whether they could return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions; and

 

  • Family members of the above two categories of people, in so far as the family already existed in Ukraine at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx, regardless of whether the family member could return to his or her country of origin in safe and durable conditions. In line with Council Directive 2001/55, a family member is considered as the spouse of the above two categories of people or his or her unmarried partner in a stable relationship, where the legislation or practice of the Member State concerned treats unmarried couple in a way comparable to married couples under its law relating to aliens; the minor unmarried children of the of the above two categories of people or of his or her spouse, without distinction as to whether they were born in or out wedlock or adopted; other close relatives who lived together as part of the family unit at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx, and who were wholly or mainly dependent of the above two categories of people.

 

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to express our deepest concerns for the people of Ukraine.

If you or your family require advice on your eligibility for temporary protection or in respect of visa applications for family members in third countries, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

The Temporary Protection Directive can be found here.

The Council Implementing Decision that activated the Temporary Protection Directive can be found here.

INFORMATION FOR UKRAINIAN NATIONALS AND RESIDENTS OF UKRAINE TRAVELLING TO IRELAND

Since 25th February 2022 nationals of Ukraine do not need an entry visa to travel to and enter Ireland pursuant to S.I. No. 86/2022 – Immigration Act 2004 (Visas) (Amendment) Order 2022.

The EU Member states have now activated the application of Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 by way of a Council implementing Decision. This means that the EU members states will now offer “temporary protection” to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Ireland along with the other EU member states will now offer and provide “temporary protection” to Ukrainian nationals and lawful residents of Ukraine. Temporary protection will be initially provided for 12 months, potentially renewable for a further 24 months.

It is estimated that upwards of 2,000 people have arrived in Ireland to date fleeing the war in Ukraine, with many more thousands expected to follow.

Following the adoption of Council Directive 2001/55/EC, those fleeing the war in Ukraine will not be required to submit  applications for asylum upon arrival in Ireland and will be offered temporary protection here.

Following a helpful briefing session with Government officials today, it is our understanding that the Irish Government are acting urgently to put in a place a system to provide temporary protection in the most humanitarian and urgent manner possible.

It is hoped that the process to obtain temporary protection will be an  extremely simple process and in  near future  it is hoped that this temporary permission will  in fact be provided at the airport or port of entry.

Temporary protection will be granted to persons arriving in Ireland from Ukraine and covers both Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine and also  nationals of other countries  or stateless persons residing legally in Ukraine and who are unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin, as well as their family members.

The requirement of inability to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin shall not apply to third-country nationals or stateless persons who have been legally residing on a long-term basis in Ukraine.

Family members include spouses, partners, children and also other close relatives who lived together as part of the family unit at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx, and who were wholly or mainly dependent on their family.

Persons holding temporary protection will enjoy the rights afforded under Section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015- to seek and enter employment and to engage in business, to access education and training, to receive medical care and social welfare benefits and the same right of travel in the State as those to which Irish citizens are entitled.

We welcome the Irish Government’s commitment to welcoming those impacted by the war in Ukraine to seek protection and safety in Ireland. We hope that the adoption of  a “temporary protection”  system within the EU will provide a streamlined and  efficient system focused on  the urgent  needs of the millions of people  who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine.

VISA REQUIREMENTS BETWEEN UKRAINE AND IRELAND LIFTED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT

Up until today, nationals of Ukraine required entry visas to travel to and enter Ireland.

This involves submitting a detailed visa application to the Irish Embassy prior to travel. This process can often incur long delays and requires a huge array of original documentation.

On the 25th February 2022, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee has announced that nationals of Ukraine are now non-visa required persons in the Irish immigration context and that this emergency measure will be implemented with immediate effect.

This means that nationals of Ukraine no longer require an entry visa in advance of travel to the State and can travel to the State and request entry at the border as a non-visa required national.

In the Minister’s press release it is stated that those who travel to Ireland from Ukraine without a visa during this time will be given 90 days to regularise their immigration permission in the State.

The appropriate immigration application to make upon arrival in Ireland will differ depending on the particular circumstances of the person arriving.

In a statement, Minister McEntee stated that she is “appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the unjustified and unprovoked attack against a democratic sovereign state in Europe.” Minister McEntee confirmed that Ireland stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The full announcement can be read here.

We welcome the Minister’s action which may assist citizens of Ukraine to flee to safety and assist families in Ireland to be reunited with their Ukrainian family members on an urgent basis and avoid a delayed visa processing system.

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to express our deepest concerns for the people of Ukraine and if you or your family require legal advice in respect of the matters raised in this blog please do not hesitate to get in touch.

BERKELEY SOLICITORS IS RECRUITING FOR AN IMMIGRATION SOLICITOR

Berkeley Solicitors is recruiting for an Immigration Solicitor.

Please see attached add for further details: CLICK HERE

 

REGULARISATION OF LONG TERM UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANT SCHEME PUBLISHED

The Minister for Justice has published the details of the new scheme which will open on Monday 31st January 2022, enabling undocumented migrants to apply to regularise their immigration status in the State.

The scheme will be open for applications from 31st January 2022 until 31st July 2022, a period of six months.

The qualifying criteria has now been published on the Irish Immigration website which distinguishes between four types of applications which can be made under the scheme. It is worthy to note that Applicants are to meet the qualifying criteria by the 31st January 2022, the date that the scheme opens and not during the six month period.

The four types of applications which can be made, and the period of residency required are set out as follows:

1) Single Application

In order to qualify for the scheme as a single applicant, you are required to be over the age of 18 and have been living in the State undocumented continuously for the last four years.

2) Family Application (Couple)

The principal applicant who is applying for themselves and their spouse/civil partner/de facto pattern must have resided in the State undocumented continuously for the last four years whilst the spouse/partner must have resided in the State undocumented continuously for the last two years.

3) Family Application with at least one dependent minor child

The principal applicant must have resided in the State undocumented continuously for the last three years.

The spouse/partner and any dependent children between the ages of 18 -23 must have resided in the State undocumented continuously for the last two years whilst living with the principal applicant for the last two years and continue to live as a family unit at the time of application.

Dependent children under the age of 18 must have been residing in the State with the principal applicant immediately prior to the publication of the scheme on 13th January 2022.

4) Family Application with at least one dependent adult child

The principal applicant must have resided in the State undocumented continuously for the last four years.

The spouse/partner and any dependent adult child between the ages of 18 -13 must have resided in the State undocumented continuously for the last two years whilst living with the principal applicant for the last two years and continue to live as a family unit at the time of application.

Other children over the age of 23 or are themselves married/ in a partnership must make an application in their own right, even if still residing with the principal applicant in the same family unit.

Where a child is over the age of 23 and living with a disability or is unable to live alone, applicants should contact [email protected] prior to submitting an application.

Persons who currently hold immigration status or who having a pending IPO application are ineligible for the scheme and cannot apply.

Applications fees apply and details of same can be found in the below links. Those who wish to apply may now view the detailed guidance and the list of documents required to make an application.  The specific questions/application form does not yet appear to be available.

 

Berkeley Solicitors greatly welcomes the publishment of the new scheme which will provide the opportunity to thousands of people across Ireland to regularise their immigration status in Ireland.

If you or a family member have queries about the process for applying under the new scheme, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Further details of the full scheme can be found at the following links:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/regularisation-of-long-term-undocumented-migrant-scheme/

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Undocumented-Policy-Scheme-January-2022.pdf

 

NEW SCORECARD APPROACH INTRODUCED FOR CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FROM JANUARY 2022

On the 31st December 2021, the Department of Justice announced that it would be introducing a scorecard approach for supporting documents that are required for citizenship applications, to prove required residency and establish identity.

The scorecard approach, which is applicable from the 1st of January 2022, is intended to clarify the information that applicants are intended to provide to establish their identity and required residency when applying for Irish citizenship.

Previously, applicants were required to provide a certain number of proofs of residency for each year of the period of residence claimed on their application form. Under the new approach, applicants will now need to reach a score of 150 points in each of the years proof of residency is required. A certain proof of residency will have a definite point value that has been predetermined by the Department.

Furthermore, an applicant will be need to provide sufficient documentation to accumulate 150 points to establish their identity. In the circumstances where an applicant is not able to meet the 150 points standard, the Department has indicated that the applicant will need to engage with the Citizenship Division to provide reasons as to why this is the case.

In the announcement, the Department highlighted the importance that proofs of identity and residence hold for a citizenship application, and confirmed that insufficient documentation can lead to an application being deemed ineligible.

An applicant is no longer required to submit their original passport with their citizenship application; however, the Minister reserves the right to request original passports from an applicant at any stage in the process.

The full announcement can be read here.

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