BERKELEY SOLICITORS CONGRATULATES THE SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT AND LEGAL TEAM INVOLVED IN RECENT JUDICIAL REVIEW CASE

Berkeley Solicitors offers its congratulations to the successful applicant and legal team involved in the recent judgement MAH v The Minister for Justice , delivered on 30th April 2021.

The case involves a Somalian national who was granted refugee status in Hungary after fleeing from violent threats she had received from a fundamentalist group.

After facing further violence in Hungary, the applicant arrived in Ireland in 2016, where she applied for permission to reside.

The applicant is a qualified doctor and volunteers as a translator for members of the Somalian community and also with the Irish Cancer Society. Her lack of legal status in Ireland meant that she was unable to work in the State.

In February 2020, a deportation order was issued to the applicant, which was the subject of the Judicial Review proceedings before the High Court.

It was argued on behalf of the applicant that returning her to Hungary would amount to inhumane and degrading treatment, in breach of Article 3 of the Convention of European Human Rights.

In the judgment of Ms Justice Burns it is referenced that the applicant’s rights were not sufficiently protected in Hungary and that the Hungarian government were hostile towards migrants.

Ms Justice Burns assessed the Respondent’s consideration under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 as amended, and stated her findings as follows:

I am of the view that the Respondent incorrectly assessed the COI; failed to consider whether the presumption that her fundamental rights would be upheld in Hungary had been rebutted; and failed to properly consider the Applicant’s employment prospects pursuant to s. 3(6)(f) of the 1999 Act, the Respondent’s determination in respect of the Deportation Order is vitiated by these errors.

In granting the applicant the reliefs sought, Ms Justice Burns summarised that:

‘the founding architects of the system of international protection which is in place in Europe today, would be of the view that we, as a people, have badly failed the Applicant in this case.’

Berkeley solicitors welcomes this very fair and just decision and hopes that it will benefit both the applicant and other non-nationals within similar circumstances.

If you require advices regarding any matters raised in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Berkeley Solicitors.

CHILDREN BORN IN IRELAND WITHOUT ENTITLEMENT TO NATIONALITY OF ANY OTHER COUNTRY

Berkeley Solicitors continues to act for a number of children born in Ireland without an entitlement to nationality of any other country.

We believe that our clients are entitled to Irish citizenship pursuant to Article 6(3) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.

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, 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.”

Berkeley Solicitors is proud to have successfully acted for one client who was approved a Certificate of Nationality on foot of Section 6 (3) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended.

We currently have a number of similar applications pending. However, these applications tend to be subject to very long delays.

Further difficulties arise because the Minister has failed to implement a lawful application procedure for such children applying for recognition of their Irish citizenship.

Berkeley Solicitors calls on the Minister to implement a lawful procedure for the small cohort of children resident in Ireland, who are entitled to Irish citizenship pursuant to Section 6 (3) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended.

 

BERKELEY SOLICITORS CALLS ON THE MINISTER TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF STATELESS PEOPLE IN IRELAND

It is a matter of great concern to Berkeley Solicitors that Ireland continues to deny stateless persons the right to have their status recognised contrary to the UN Convention for Stateless Persons.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has stated that:

‘Ireland continues to fail in meeting international standards for providing legal framework to protect stateless people and does not have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent and reduce statelessness from occurring through legal gaps.’

The first applicant in Ireland to obtain a declaration of ‘stateless’ status was in 2014, and a client of Ms Karen Berkeley. A summary of the case can be found at:

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/ireland-gives-legal-status-to-first-stateless-resident-1.1742516

Acting for the client, Ms Berkeley commented that Ireland’s failure to establish an administrative process for stateless residents was a breach of its obligations under the 1954 Convention.

However, following this case no application procedure has yet been created by the Minister for Justice.

It is a very unsatisfactory situation that stateless persons generally have to apply for refugee status and fit their case into the narrow legal definition of a refugee.

Berkeley Solicitors calls on the Minister to establish a legal procedure for stateless persons in the UN Convention for Stateless Persons.

 

REOPENING OF BURGH QUAY REGISTRATION OFFICE

The Burgh Quay Registration Office will reopen for non-nationals who are registering for their first immigration permission on Monday 10th May 2021.

In the notice published on the 6th May 2021, INIS stated that the office will be in contact with applicants whose appointments were cancelled due to the closures in line with the level 5 restrictions.

It is intended that these cancelled appointments will be rescheduled as quickly as possible.

Applicants in the Dublin region who wish to register for their first immigration permission can book an appointment at:

https://burghquayregistrationoffice.inis.gov.ie/

For those located outside of Dublin, applications are processed by the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Contact details for these offices can be found here:

https://www.garda.ie/

The reopening now means that those who have been granted residence permission can apply for an Irish Residence Permit and will have evidence of their right to reside and work.

This is very welcome news for our clients who have been facing practical difficulties due to the closures.

The full announcement can be found at:

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

Berkeley Solicitors advises all our clients who have received their first residence permission approval since the closure of Burgh Quay on the 23rd December 2020 to immediately apply for an appointment to register.

 

SUSPENSION OF VISA AND PRECLEARANCE APPLICATIONS EXTENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

The decision to temporarily suspend the processing of new visa and preclearance applications has been extended as of 5th May 2021.

In its notice, the Department of Justice stated that:

‘these measures will remain in place until further notice’ and that ‘the situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.’

Due to the level 5 restrictions, there are a limited number of applications currently being processed, including priority and emergency cases.

These cases include applications for essential workers, patients travelling for necessary medical treatment and persons travelling for urgent family reasons.

The notice also states that applications received before the 29th January will continue to be processed.

Applications for appeal are also being accepted and processed.

There is no indication of when the Department will recommence accepting new visa and preclearance applications.

The full announcement can be found at:

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

If this notice affects you or your family, please get in contact with Berkeley Solicitors to discuss your case

CONGRATULATIONS TO CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS WHO HAVE BEEN RECENTLY APPROVED FOR NATURALIZATION

Berkeley Solicitors offers congratulations to a number of our clients who have recently received approval on their naturalization applications.

This is very welcome news for our clients who have all been waiting in excess of two years to have their applications approved.

Covid-19 restrictions have resulted in delays for over 24,000 people awaiting approval for naturalization.

With in-person citizenship ceremonies not set to resume until December, the approved applicants can now sign a statutory declaration in the presence of a designated official.

In a letter, the Minister for Justice offered her ‘warmest congratulations’ to the approved applicants as they begin a new chapter in their lives as Irish citizens.

Berkeley Solicitors congratulates our clients on receiving this good news after a very long wait.

PASSPORT SERVICES TO BE CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL UNDER NEW PLANS BROUGHT TO CABINET

Today, new proposals will be brought to Cabinet by the Minister for Foreign Affairs which will deem the production of passports an essential service.

The majority of passport services have been suspended since December in line with the Level 5 restrictions.

It is planned that the Minister will ask the Cabinet to consider passport services an essential service in order to allow the backlog to be efficiently cleared.

Approximately 89,000 people have been affected by delays in the processing of passport applications including 44,000 domestic applications and 45,000 from outside the State.

The issuing of a passport to Irish citizens is provided for under the Passports Act 2008 which states:

‘a person who is an Irish citizen and is, subject to this Act, thereby entitled to be issued with a passport.’

Berkeley Solicitors therefore believes that the failure to issue passports to Irish citizens is contrary to this Act.

This matter is of great concern and Berkeley Solicitors has received many queries from those who have been unable to receive a passport for travel or identification purposes.

In deeming the production of passports an essential service, it is hoped that this backlog can be cleared in a matter of weeks.

Berkeley Solicitors are happy to see this news today and we hope that it will benefit those who have been affected.

DRAFT PROPOSALS FOR SCHEME FOR UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE RELEASED BY MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

The Minister for Justice has outlined the draft proposals for the regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants to the Cabinet today.

The Minister outlined that consultation is to begin on the remit and terms of the scheme.

It is planned that there will be final Government approval on the scheme by September this year.

The Minister outlined that it is envisaged that the scheme will be open to people who have lived in the State for a period of four years without a valid immigration permission, or a period of three years for persons with minor children. There will be an assessment of character and conduct as part of the application process.

It is planned that successful applicants will be issued with an immigration permission that allows a right to work and that will be reckonable for immigration purposes, providing a pathway to naturalise as an Irish citizen.

The scheme will operate on the basis of the executive powers of the Minister and will be an administrative rather than a statutory scheme. The draft proposals outline that the scheme will be time limited and open for approximately a period of six months.

It is planned that that the scheme will be open for applications by the end of this year.

The Minister stated:

“There are thousands of people across the country who have created a life here but unfortunately still live in the legal shadows. They are active members of our communities: contributing to our society, enriching our culture and working in our economy”.

The Minister will hold an informal webinar with NGOS, civil society, employer organisations, trade unions and other key stakeholders on Monday 26th April 2021 on the proposed scheme.

Berkeley Solicitors greatly welcomes this scheme and hopes it will benefit as many people and families as possible who have made Ireland their home.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE PUBLISHES UPDATE ON THE PROCESSING OF NEW VISA APPLICATIONS FOR IMPERATIVE FAMILY REASONS

As of 29th January 2021, the Department of Justice has ceased accepting the majority of new visa/preclearance applications due to Covid-19, with the exception of a number of Priority/Emergency categories of visas.

The Priority/Emergency category includes persons travelling for imperative family reasons.

The Minister for Justice has published an update providing clarity on the meaning of imperative family reasons for the purpose of new visa applications.

In a notice dated 6th April 2021, it is stated that:

“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 but do not include the following: missing a loved one; wanting to attend a birth; or wanting to attend a wedding or a milestone birthday. Please note that this list of examples is not exhaustive and whether your application meets the criteria or not is determined by examining the circumstances and supporting documentation of each case on an individual basis.”

The full notice can be read here.

If you or a family member have any queries about applying for a visa to Ireland, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES FURTHER EXTENSION OF IMMIGRATION PERMISSIONS

On 26th March 2021, the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee published a notice announcing a further temporary extension of immigration and international protection permissions. This extension applies to immigration and international protection permissions to reside in the State that are due to expire between 21st April 2021 and 20th September 2021.

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 20th of September 2021.

Any permission that was renewed by the previous notices and was due to expire between 21st April 2021 and 20th September 2021 is automatically renewed by this notice until 20th September 2021.

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 for Justice commented:

“As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, 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 further automatic extension to 20 September 2021 for anyone already holding a valid permission.

“This extension will benefit those who cannot get an appointment to register or renew an existing permission. However, I encourage anyone who can renew, particularly Dublin-based customers who can use the online system, to do so and not to wait until September.

The notice also confirms that the Registration Office in Burgh Quay remains closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Persons who were issued with appointments for first time registrations will be contacted directly by the Immigration Service and they will be prioritised for appointments once the Public Office can safely reopen.

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.