The Minister currently operates a specific scheme whereby both Irish citizens and non EEA nationals resident in the State can apply for a visa/residence permission for their elderly dependent parents in certain circumstances. The INIS Family Reunification Policy Document of December 2013, refers to this as the “Elderly Dependent Parent Scheme”
In summary, the scheme allows for Irish citizens or Non EEA nationals to apply for their elderly dependent parents to accompany or join them in Ireland, in the following circumstances:
- The sponsor can evidence that the parent is dependent on him/her, and dependency can include a combination of factors including financial, emotional, physical, medical, etc. Very high levels of dependency must be shown, to the extent that the Minister is satisfied that there is no other option for the family but to have their dependant elderly parents in the State, including the option that the sponsor leaves Ireland to look after their parent in their own country of residence.
- The sponsor must provide evidence of meeting strict financial thresholds as outlined in the policy document as follows:
“a sponsor of an elderly dependent relative will be required to have earned in Ireland each of the 3 years preceding the application an income after tax and deductions of not less than €60K in the case of one parent and €75k where 2 parents are involved. Where the elderly dependent relative has a guaranteed income into the future this can be used to partially offset the financial limits (bearing in mind however that a person with a sufficient personal income for their needs cannot reasonably be regarded as financially dependent)”
- There is no other viable option but for the parent to join the sponsor in Ireland
- The dependent parent is covered by private medical insurance at a level of VHI Plan D
- The sponsor must sign a declaration that he/she will bear the full financial responsibility of their dependent parent
- The sponsor must provide adequate accommodation for the dependent parent
Even where the sponsor meets all of the criteria, the application still remains within the discretion of the Minister for Justice. This discretion may be used favourably or adversely against any applicant. The policy documents sets out circumstances where a sponsor may not meet all the requirements of the scheme, but an application may be approved regardless where exceptional humanitarian circumstances exist.
If the sponsor meets the criteria and the application is approved, the dependent parent will be issued a stamp 0 residence permission, which is for a one year period at a time and applicants will be required to write on an annual basis to renew their permission. The INIS web page and the Policy of December 2013 state that Stamp 0 permission is a low level permission that is not reckonable towards naturalisation and does not entitle the holder to work, operate a business or claim any state benefits. With the application sponsors are required to sign an undertaking that they will bear all financial cost of their parents residing in the State with them and undertaking to repay any cost to the State if any state services or resources are used.