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THE PROBLEM WITH STAMP 3 IMMIGRATION PERMISSION

Persons on Stamp 3 immigration permission are restricted from taking up employment or working in Ireland.

Our office has met many clients whose lives are severely negatively impacted by holding Stamp 3 permission.

Many adults, who wish to work and integrate into Ireland are prevented from doing so unless their area of expertise or work experience leaves the option of an employment permit open to them. Even then obtaining a work permit is not always possible. The vast majority of occupations are ineligible for employment permits.

Many people holding Stamp 3 have been offered secure employment but have been unable to take up their employment offers due to the restrictions placed on them by their immigration status.

We submit that to put adults, who are able and willing to work in this position is unnecessary and cruel.

It prevents individuals from getting to know people in Ireland and fully integrate. Employment gives people confidence and a sense of purpose. Being unable to work negatively impacts on a person’s mental well being. A large part of a person’s self-worth and sense of being is derived from their employment.

We submit that the Minister should promote the ideals of employment and self-sufficiency and should not leave adults who are able to work in such a position. Persons on Stamp 3 are required to remain dependent on family members well into their adulthood.

Young adults are most affected by the issuance of Stamp 3 permission at an extremely important and formative part of their lives. Our office is even aware of adults with children of their own being issued Stamp 3 permission to reside, leaving them unable to support themselves or their own families.

We submit that allowing persons to work serves in the best interests of the state as it will allow persons to contribute to the economy and promotes integration and the building of communities.

We submit that there is no risk to state resources, funding or expenditure in the granting of Stamp 4/ Stamp 1 without the need for a work permit to persons currently resident on Stamp 3 as the Minister can make it a condition of a person’s immigration permission that they cannot access State supports.

The absolute prohibition on work was found to be unlawful in respect of persons seeking asylum in Ireland in the case of  of N.V.H. v Minister for Justice and Equality and ors [2017] IESC 35 in which it was held that the ability to engage in work is connected to the dignity of the human person and that prohibiting a non-citizen, in this particular case an asylum seeker, from seeking employment is therefore contrary to the Constitution. We submit that the same reasoning should apply to individuals currently on Stamp 3 permission in the State.

We highlight in particular the Court’s judgment at paragraphs 15-17 in which it is stated:

“15…Much work is drudgery, often the subject of complaint rather than celebration, and most often an economic necessity as a means to live a chosen life rather than an end in itself. However even approaching the matter with a healthy dose of skepticism, it must be recognised that work is connected to the dignity and freedom of the individual which the Preamble tells us the Constitution seeks to promote.

Persons on Stamp 3 permission are not eligible to take up employment in the State until if and when he or she naturalises as an Irish citizen- given the current processing times this could amount to anywhere from 5 to 6 years if not more.

We submit that the restriction on work created by Stamp 3 immigration permission is unnecessary and unreasonable.

If you or a family member are affected by Stamp 3 immigration permission please do not hesitate to contact our office.

PROPOSED CHANGES TO IRISH EMPLOYMENT PERMIT SYSTEM

The general scheme of the Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill 2019 has been published.

This is the result of a review conducted last year by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on economic migration policy review, which found inflexibilities in the current employment permit system.

The current system is governed by the existing Employment Permit Acts 2003-2014.

Speaking about the proposals, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, has said:

“The proposed legislation will increase the agility and responsiveness of Ireland’s economic migration system to meet skills and labour needs, while continuing to safeguard the labour market and support the employment rights of permit holders. I want to modernise the system and ensure that it is capable of adapting to changes in the future as well as fluctuations in demand across the economic cycle.”

The aim of the Bill is to consolidate existing legislation, as the Government believes any further amendment to the existing Employment Permit Acts 2003-2014 would significantly increase the complexity of the current system.

Major changes proposed by the Bill including streamlining the processes for ‘trusted partner’ and renewal applications, and making the system more agile and easier to modify to meet changing economic circumstances, technological advances and process changes as they arise.

Another proposal is to modify the ‘50:50 rule’, which currently requires that 50% of an employer’s staff be EEA nationals before an Irish employment permit may be granted, allowing it be waived in cases where the permit holder would be the sole employee. However, this change is subject to the employer demonstrating that they have made efforts to recruit from within Ireland and across the EEA in the first instance. The 50:50 requirement would resume from the point at which a second employee is contracted.

The Bill also proposes the introduction of new categories of employment permit, namely a Seasonal Irish Employment Permit and a Special Circumstances Employment Permit.

The Seasonal Irish Employment Permit would cater toward those working in the short-stay and recurrent employment sectors. Ireland is an outlier in not offering this type of permit, which would allow individuals to come to the State to work in sectors such tourism, farming and horticulture on a short-term basis.

The Special Circumstances Employment Permit would allow for bilateral, reciprocal agreements between Ireland and other States and could be used, for example, to address a need for a niche, but critically important skillset, for which no formal training is available in Ireland.

The proposals also include an extensive revision of the Labour Market Needs Test, the requirement whereby employers need to firstly advertise vacancies within Ireland and across the EEA.

Ms Humphreys has said:

“The overhaul [of the Labour Market Needs Test] will make it more relevant, efficient, and modernised to reflect current advertising practices. It will also ensure that the test is more targeted and effective in reaching Irish and European jobseekers in the first instance.”

The primary aim of Irish government policy when it comes to the labour market is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills from within Ireland, the EU and other EEA States first and from there look at alternatives from further afield. Permits for highly skilled personnel from outside the EEA can be granted where the requisite skills cannot be met by normal recruitment or training.

The aim of the proposed changes, according to Ms Humphreys, is to enhance accessibility and improve the transparency of the employment permit process while “retaining the core focus of a vacancy led employment permits system focused on meeting the skills and labour needs in the State.”

At present, these proposals are at a very early stage and are subject to change as the Bill moves through the legislative process.

The full text of the general scheme of the Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill 2019 can be found here.

 

 

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR APPEAL ON A DECISION CONCERNING THE DEFINITION OF “CHILD” IN FAMILY REUNIFICATION LAW

The Supreme Court is set to hear an appeal from the State over the definition of “child” as referred to in the International Protection Act 2015.

Section 56 the 2015 International Protection Act sets down the procedure for refugees and the holders of subsidiary protection to make an application for family reunification.

The State’s appeal specifically concerns Section 56.9(d) which provides as follows:

“(9) In this section… “member of a family” means in relation to the sponsor-

(d) a child of the sponsor who, on the date of the application under subsection 1 is under the age of 18 years and is not married.”

In 2018, Mr Justice Barrett ruled that non-biological or adopted children are eligible for family reunification. Delivered in May, the High Court decision involved ‘Mr X’ who held subsidiary protection in Ireland and subsequently applied for family reunification for a 14-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl to whom he was the sole guardian of.

After refusing to undertake a DNA test, as requested by the Minister, the application was refused in 2017. Mr X made a second application which was also refused and therefore brought judicial review proceedings with the aim of quashing the Minister’s refusal.

In his decision, Mr Justice Barrett acknowledged that “there is a “wide diversity” of familial structures and the 2015 Act does not exclude non-biological relationships. He further found that a “cookie cutter” definition of children which only recognised biological children, “would doubtless be easier for the State to police…but it is not what the Act provides”. Mr Justice Barrett’s decision acknowledged that it is not always a straightforward task in defining who is a child of someone. He therefore directed the Minister for reconsideration of the matter.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke, Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley and Ms Justice Mary Irvine have accepted a “leapfrog” appeal by the Minister and State against the High Court decision. This means that the State’s appeal will bypass the Court of Appeal and be directly heard by the Supreme Court.

The judges have emphasised that the definition of “child” in relation to the 2015 Act has the potential to relate to any case regarding non-biological minors who are claimed to be the child of person who has international protection.

The question as to which minors may benefit from family reunification is “a matter of general public importance”, they have underscored.

A hearing date for the appeal has not yet been fixed.

 

IMPORTANT JUDGEMENT RELATING TO PERMITTED FAMILY MEMBERS IN EU TREATY RIGHTS APPLICATIONS: AF AND AF V THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

Berkeley Solicitors is happy to announce that our clients have obtained a successful decision from the High Court in relation to permitted family members in EU Treaty Rights applications pursuant to Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015. Mr Justice Barrett delivered this important judgement on the 26th September 2019.

We believe that this judgment will have an extremely positive impact on permitted family members for such applications.

The case concerned two applicant brothers- ‘Brother A’, a British citizen resident in Ireland for employment purposes and ‘Brother B’, the dependent of Brother A and a Pakistani citizen living in Ireland as a student since 2014.

The High Court found that the Minister’s refusal of the application for an EU residence card for the dependent brother was unreasonable and to some extent irrational, and therefore quashed the Minister’s decision.

The court accepted the applicant’s arguments that Brother B’s country of previous residence is Ireland, contrary to the Minister’s argument that the country of previous residence was Pakistan.

Relying on Rahman, the court reaffirmed that the phrase “in the country from which the person has come” in relation to permitted family members, as appears in both the Directive and the 2015 Regulations, refers to the State he was resident in when he applied to join the Union citizen.

At paragraphs 7 and 8, the court states that:

Although visa applications are typically made outside Ireland, in this instance, Brother B had permission in his own right to reside in Ireland as a student on the date the application was made and therefore the Minister was mistaken in maintaining that Pakistan was the country Brother B came from.

The court further clarified that even in the case of (incorrectly) considering Pakistan as the country from which Brother B had come, Brother A’s actions with respect to housing and financing Brother A’s education in Ireland would remain relevant insofar he was consistently supporting by his brother to the point of dependency.

Mr Justice Barrett specifically addressed the nature of evidence provided in support of EU Treaty Rights Applications referring to the statements made by the applicants. He reaffirmed that when applicants make/sign the declaration for the completion of the EU1A form, certain weight is afforded to the evidence provided in and with the application.

Mr Justice Barrett took a fair and reasonable approach to the provision of documents maintaining that very few people can produce/receive or retain documentation with regards to every aspect of their lives, even in the case of the most important aspects of one’s life.

The Judge remarked that in reality there is a limit to what one applicant can produce in terms of documents.

Mr Justice Barrett went on to provide a summary of the concept for dependency confirming that it means:

15. “that members of the family of a community national… need the material support of that Community national… in order to meet their essential needs in the State of origin of those family members or the State from which they have come at the time when they apply to join the Community national”.

Referencing Kuhn and Ors, Mr Justice Barrett echoed that material support includes financial contribution but does not require that the entirety of the cost of essential needs be covered by person providing support.

This judgement advocates, in light of Article 3(2) of the Citizen’s Right Directive, for a relatively generous test as to what constitutes dependency.

A point that the court felt important to note, was that in a situation where material support is not provided directly to the dependent but to others, the dependent is not precluded from being described as such because dependent relationships can include both direct dependency and/or vicarious dependency.

Specifically addressing the issue of dependency in Pakistan, in paragraph 23, Mr Justice Barrett found the Minister’s assertion that the applicants had not provided evidence that without the small cash transfers, Brother B would not have been able to support himself in Pakistan was unreasonable.

Highlighting that Brother B was unemployed in Pakistan and therefore clearly dependent on someone for his income, the High Court was unable to see in this regard:

23(ii). “how Brother B could prove that if he was not in the position that he found himself to be in, he would still not have been able to support himself; how could he possible demonstrate that?”.

In conclusion, the court granted an order of certiorari which means that the Minister’s refusal of the application as a result of the court’s findings is withdrawn and that the application be reconsidered by the minister.

We believe that this judgement will have a positive effect for other applicants who are permitted family members and awaiting the outcome of their EU residence card applications.

The full judgement will be posted here shortly.

 

 

BRITISH CITIZENS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS IN IRELAND- THE RIGHT TO RESIDE IN THE EVENT OF A NO-DEAL BREXIT

As previously highlighted on Berkeley Solicitor’s Immigration Blog, the family members of British citizens resident in Ireland on the basis of EU FAM Residence Cards have received recent correspondence outlining “transitional arrangements” will be put in place in the event of a no- deal Brexit.

There is no clear outline in these letters as to what these transitional arrangements will be.

This has caused much anxiety to the holders of the EU FAM residence cards as highlighted by the Irish Times in their article of the 18th September 2019.

What is not mentioned is this article is that the further information and clarification outlined on The European Commission’s website which currently states as follows:

“Member States have prepared or adopted national contingency measures to ensure that UK nationals and their non-EU family members could remain legally resident in the immediate period after a no-deal withdrawal. To provide further clarity on the situation, the Commission, based on the information provided by the EU27 Member States, makes available an overview table and a Q&A on UK nationals’ residency rights in each of the EU27 Member States.  

Ireland

I am a UK national living in Ireland. In case of a no-deal scenario, what should I do to keep my residence rights after Brexit date? When should I do it?

All UK nationals have a right under the Common Travel Area to live in Ireland.

You do not need to take any action to continue to live in Ireland after Brexit date.

What will my rights be?   

Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), British citizens can move freely to, and reside in, Ireland and can enjoy associated rights and privileges including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections.

The Government of Ireland and the UK Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 8 May 2019‌, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances.

More details can be found here

How can I travel to other Member States or cross the EU external borders?     

You will have to carry your passport, and fulfil any visa requirements, which may be introduced by other Member States.

 I have resided in Ireland for more than five years. How can I obtain EU long-term residence status?   

Ireland, does not participate the Directive (2003/109/EC) which deals with long term residence for third country nationals.  Therefore, the EU long-term resident status does not apply for UK nationals in Ireland.

 My family members (spouse, children) are citizens of a third country (neither EU nor UK). What should they do to keep their residence rights?

  1. a) If they already have a residence card issued under EU free movement law, this will be considered as their temporary residence permit until 31 October 2020, i.e. 12 months after Brexit date. After 31 October 2020, i.e. 12 months after Brexit date, they will have to apply for a new residence permit, according to the law that will be applicable at that time.
  2. b) If they do not have a residence card, they will have to apply for a residence permit as soon as possible to regularise their position in the State. For information on the application process, please visit this website inis.gov.ie.”

It appears that the current plan is for family members of British citizens to hold their EU Fam residence card for one year as a “temporary residence card”, whilst the new “transitional provisions are put in place.

This suggests that the family members of British citizens do not have to take any steps as their current EU residence card will serve as their temporary residence permission pursuant to Irish law for the first year at least.

If you or your family members are affected please do not hesitate to get in contact with our office.

The European Commission Webpage can be accessed in full here.

 

EFFECTS OF BREXIT FOR NON-EEA FAMILY MEMBERS OF UNION CITIZENS RESIDENCE IN IRELAND

UPDATE- INIS has provided a welcomed update on the effects of Brexit on Non-EEA family members of British citizens seeking EU Treaty Rights currently residing in Ireland.

On the 31st of October, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and become a third country unless a draft withdrawal agreement is ratified prior to this. Brexit has left many unanswered questions for Non-EU/EEA British citizen family members.

Although currently entitled to avail of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015, a no-deal scenario would mean that Non-EEA family members of British citizens will no longer be able to exercise EU treaty rights. Encouragingly, if you are currently a Stamp 4 EUFam card holder, INIS advises that you should have no concerns regarding your continued residence after the 31st of October in the State.

The Department of Justice and Equality has been contacting holders of Stamp 4 EUFam residence cards confirming that “transitional arrangements” are being put in place in the event of a no-deal Brexit. These arrangements will facilitate the transfer of free movement rights under domestic immigration arrangements. The objective of these transitional arrangements is to retain similar rights to those currently enjoyed as a non-EU/EEA family member of a British citizen.

If you are a non-EU/EEA British citizen family member and currently reside in Ireland, any changes in your personal circumstances, such as your civil status, your citizenship or that of the British citizen family member should be brought to the attention of EU Treaty Rights Division.

INIS has recently reaffirmed that where applications are pending, no action is currently required.

For more information, please read here

You can contact EU Treaty Rights Division by email at eutreatyrights@justice.ie or by post at:

EU Treaty Rights Division
Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
13/14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2.

NEW ONLINE IMMIGRATION RENEWAL SYSTEM FOR DUBLIN-BASED STUDENTS

In order to support the increasing number of non-EEA students, a new online renewal immigration registration system has been established.

Starting 26th August 2019, Dublin-based students from outside of Europe will be able to renew their immigration registration online without any additional fees. Nearly 8,000 students are expected to use the new online renewal system in the coming months.

Currently, the immigration registration renewal system requires Dublin based non-EEA students to have an in-person appointment with INIS at Burgh Quay Registration – which usually means long queues especially toward the beginning of a new academic term.

However, this new online registration system should mitigate the long queues saving time for students and opening up appointment times for other customers at the INIS office.

As of now, the online renewal immigration registration system is only available to Dublin based non-EEA students, who have previously registered with INIS and are registering for at least their second year of study. However, depending on the success of the online immigration registration renewal system in Dublin, INIS will consider expanding it other areas and customers as well.

MINIMUM SALARIES RAISED FOR EMPLOYMENT PERMITS FROM JANUARY 2020 AND OTHER IMPORTANT CHANGES

The Employment Permits (Amendment)(No.2) Regulations 2019, 9th July 2019 amend the Employment Permit Regulations 2017-2019.

A number of the new regulations are now in force and a number will come into force in the new year, on 1st January 2020.

The required period of validity of an applicant’s passport has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months. There has also been a change to the numbers of employment permits that can be issued in respect of particular professions- dairy farming and the meat industry.

The most notable amendment is that there is to be an increase in the minimum salary required for a critical skills employment permit from €30,000 to €32,000 for an occupation on the highly skilled occupations list and from €60,000 to €64,000 for other professions.

In respect of General Employment permits, the period of time a job has to be advertised with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to satisfy the Labour Markets Needs test will also be increased from 14 days to 28 days.

MINISTER RULED TO HAVE BEEN INCORRECTLY APPLYING EU LAW RELATING TO MEMBERSHIP OF THE SAME HOUSEHOLD

The High Court has issued a very important ruling in Shishu & anor -v- The Minister for Justice and Equality [2019] IEHC 566, which provides that the Minister for Justice has incorrectly applied EU law as it relates to the issue of residence cards to dependent family members and members of the same household of an EU citizen who is exercising his or her right to free movement in the State.

This case was brought by two brothers, the first, a naturalised British citizen living and working in Ireland and the second, a citizen of Bangladesh who claims that he lived with and as a dependant of his EU citizen brother in the UK before his brother moved to Ireland to live and work and he travelled to join him in the State.

An application had been made to the Minister for a residence card to be issued to the second brother on the basis that he is the dependant of and a member of the household of the first within the meaning of Regulation 5.1 of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015, which states the following:

Permission for permitted family member to enter State

  1. (1) This paragraph applies to a person who—

(a) irrespective of his or her nationality, is a member of the family (other than a qualifying family member) of a Union citizen to whom paragraph (2) applies and who in the country from which the person has come—

(i) is a dependant of the Union citizen,

(ii) is a member of the household of the Union citizen, or

(iii) on the basis of serious health grounds strictly requires the personal care of the Union citizen, or

(b) is the partner with whom a Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested.

This application was refused in October 2018, with the Minister citing insufficient documentation evidencing the applicant’s dependency on his brother and his membership of the same household in the UK prior to the applicant’s travel to Ireland.

The Judge however found that in this case the documentary evidence provided as to membership of the same household in the initial application was ‘strikingly comprehensive’ stating:

(ii) the court has never previously seen an application of the type now in issue in which such an abundance of evidence was provided as to a particular point.

The Judge went on to state that the Minister in his finding that the applicant had provided insufficient evidence regarding other tenants living at their UK address, the relationship between the applicant and other tenants and as to the length of time the brothers had been living at this address, seemed to go beyond the requirements of the applicable legislation.

Mr Justice Barrett ruled that in the Minister’s decision determining that insufficient documentary evidence had been provided establishing dependency and membership of the same household, the Minister had erred in law in his application of the subsections of section 5 above and had acted unreasonably and/or in breach of EU law and/or the Regulations.

The Judge also ruled that the Minister had acted unreasonably and/or in breach of fair procedures by refusing the application without having outlined the type of documents his office required in evidence of the applicant’s dependency and membership of the same household. The judge criticised the lack of transparency inherent in the ‘closeted’ way in which the Minister is operating the application and decision-making process, one which he found leaves applicants ‘in the blind’ when it comes to trying to satisfy the Minister’s standards of proof.

In this regard the judgment states:

  1. (3) Did the Respondent act unreasonably and/or in breach of fair procedures in concluding that the second applicant had failed to submit satisfactory evidence that he was a dependent of the first applicant and/or a member of his household, without adopting procedures which would have enabled the second applicant to know what evidence he was required to adduce in order to establish same?

  2. Yes. The court does not consider that a approach by a decision-maker which amounts, in effect, to ‘Put in an application, I will not tell you even at the most general level, not even by way of non-binding guidance, what type of material I am looking for, but I will let you know if I do not see it’ is reasonable or entails fairness of procedure. It is unreasonable and unfair that the Minister should know what, at a general level, he is looking for when it comes to assessing applications generally, but will give no sense to applicants as to what it is that he is looking for, i.e. the unreasonableness/unfairness flows not from the Directive or the Regulations per se but from the closeted manner in which the Minister has elected to discharge his obligations to the detriment of applicants who, as a consequence of his approach, are unfailingly operating to some extent ‘in the blind’ when making an application such as that at issue here.

On the issue of membership of the same household, the Judge highlighted that Ireland, as an EU member state, is obliged under Directive 2004/38/EC to facilitate the entry and lawful residence of members of the household of an EU Citizen exercising his or her right to free movement in the State.

Article 3 of Directive 2004/38/EC provides the following:

Beneficiaries

  1. This Directive shall apply to all Union citizens who move to or reside in a Member State other than that of which they are a national, and to their family members as defined in point 2 of Article 2 who accompany or join them.
  2. Without prejudice to any right to free movement and residence the persons concerned may have in their own right, the host Member State shall, in accordance with its national legislation, facilitate entry and residence for the following persons:

(a) any other family members, irrespective of their nationality, not falling under the definition in point 2 of Article 2 who, in the country from which they have come, are dependants or members of the household of the Union citizen having the primary right of residence, or where serious health grounds strictly require the personal care of the family member by the Union citizen;

(b) the partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested.

The host Member State shall undertake an extensive examination of the personal circumstances and shall justify any denial of entry or residence to these people.

The Judge on this point noted that the term ‘household’ is not defined in the 2004 Directive or the 2015 Regulations and that it is therefore required to be given its ordinary meaning in the English language and be applied uniformly by EU members states. The Judge however, in reference to an observation of the Court of Justice of the EU, goes on to state that within the context of Article 3.2 of the 2004 Directive it in fact seems that a wider meaning is attributed to the term ‘household’ than that of its ordinary English language meaning.

The Judge held that the Minister in his decision in this case seemed to interpret ‘household’ as referring to a single person/group regularly residing together in the same accommodation and sharing catering arrangements, and did not consider the term to apply to a single dwelling which may contain multiple households not sharing living spaces or catering arrangements.

The judgment states in this regard:

(vi) even if one has regard solely to the English language meaning of “household”, that term is typically understood to embrace [a] a single person or group of people who regularly reside together in the same accommodation and who share the same catering arrangements; However, [b] it is of course possible for a single dwelling to contain multiple households if meals or living spaces are not shared. It seems to the court, with respect, that the Minister in his reasoning has had regard solely to conception [a] of what comprises a household and no regard to conception [b].

The Judge cancelled the Minister’s refusal of the application as a result of the court’s findings and directed that the application be reconsidered by the Minister.

The full judgment can be read here.

UPDATE ON CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOLLOWING THE JONES RULING

Further to our recent blog on the High Court’s findings in the case of Jones v The Minister for Justice and Equality, which can be read in full here, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice have published a notice addressing the judgment and the concerns it has raised.

The Court had found in Jones that the law governing eligibility for naturalization as an Irish citizen requires ‘continuous residence’ in the year prior to application and that ‘continuous residence’ is defined as per the generally accepted understanding and dictionary definition of ‘continuous’, with the implication, therefore, that even one day’s absence from Ireland in the year prior to application will break the continuous residence requirement and render a person ineligible to apply for naturalization.

This judgment has understandably caused deep concern and worry for many and in response the INIS has now issued a statement providing the following:

“We are aware that the judgment in this case has given cause for concern and may have been upsetting for many people who are in the citizenship process. We want to assure you that we are taking all appropriate steps to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. The best interests of applicants and future applicants are foremost in our considerations.”

For those planning on submitting an application or who already have an application pending, the Department goes on to confirm that it is continuing to receive and process applications as usual and it emphasises that that they are not advising current applicants or future applicants to cancel any current or future travel plans in light of the judgment.

The Department advises that anyone who is planning on applying for naturalization continue preparing their application, collecting the necessary documentation and submit this together with a complete application form, stating that once they have formulated a solution to address the implications of the ruling they will be in touch with applicants should any further information be required.

The Department confirm that preparations are still going ahead as planned for the upcoming Citizenship Ceremony in September.

Importantly, the Department also state that they “do not believe that this ruling has consequences for anyone who has already obtained citizenship under the Act”. This will hopefully come as a reassurance to many who are concerned that their citizenship may be in question following this judgment.

Finally, the Department confirms that they are working to find a solution to address the ruling as a matter of urgent priority and that they will post on their website as updates occur.

We will be posting about any further developments from the Department as they arise and should you have concerns about your case in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us.

The INIS statement can be read in full here.