Tag Archive for: Immigration in Ireland

RECOMMENCEMENT OF CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES

The first citizenship ceremony since early 2020 was recently held on the 20th June 2022 in Killarney, County Kerry.

The in-person ceremonies were postponed for over two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The ceremonies were temporarily replaced with the signing of a declaration of fidelity to the State.

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to congratulate all those who have recently received their Irish Citizenship and we welcome the return of the citizenship ceremonies which allows the recipients to celebrate this occasion.

If you or a family member has any queries regarding your immigration status please do not hesitate to contact us.

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:

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/

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

 

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES FURTHER EXTENSION OF IMMIGRATION PERMISSIONS TO 31ST MAY 2022

On the 17th December 2021, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee announced a further extension of international protection and immigration permissions. The extension has been set to 31st May 2022. Therefore, any person in the State who’s immigration permission was due to expire between 15th January 2022 and 31st May 2022 will automatically have permission to reside in the State up to 31st May 2022. This temporary permission extension also covers persons who have had their permission extended by any of the previous eight temporary extensions since March 2020.

 

Every person that qualifies for this temporary permission extension should either register or renew their permission before 31st May 2022, in order to confirm that they continue to have valid permission to reside in the State after this date.

 

In its statement announcing the new extension, the Department of Justice assured that anyone who is entitled to a new IRP card may travel during the Christmas period up to 15th January 2022, using their current expired IRP card. However, adults who plan to travel after 15th January 2022 that have not yet received their new IRP card must secure a re-entry visa in Ireland before travelling or in an overseas visa office before returning. Minors travelling with legally resident parent/s or guardian/s will not need a re-entry visa, per the current  suspension on this requirement that will be extended to 31st May 2022.

 

The Burgh Quay registration office in Dublin is open for appointments and those based in Dublin can renew their permission online at https://inisonline.jahs.ie. Renewals for persons located outside of Dublin are processed by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

 

The Department has announced that they will be launching a new Freephone telephone booking system in January to assist with the high demand for first time registration appointments.

 

The full statement announcing the permission extension can be found on the Department of Justice’s website here.

UPDATED VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR PERSONS TRAVELLING FROM DESIGNATED COUNTRIES

We refer to our previous blogs in relation to the Minister’s notice of 26th November relating to the new immigration requirements for nationals of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe

This notice has again been updated on 6th December 2021 by the Department of Justice.

The notice is entitled:

Visa Requirements for Persons Travelling from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (or persons who have been in those countries in the last 14 days).

On 28th and 30th November 2021 the Minister enacted the following Regulations:

HEALTH ACT 1947 (SECTION 31A – TEMPORARY RESTRICTIONS) (COVID-19) (RESTRICTIONS UPON TRAVEL TO THE STATE FROM CERTAIN STATES) (NO. 5) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 6) REGULATIONS 2021

A full version of the Regulations is available here:

https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2021/si/639/made/en/pdf

The updated notice outlines that if you are visa or non-visa  required national and you are travelling to Ireland from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe you will be required to comply with the restrictions on travel provided for in these Regulations.

It is stated that visa applications will only be accepted and processed where an applicant comes within one of the outlined exemptions:

  • Has obtained or is entitled to apply for a right of residence under EU Free Movement
  • Has a valid Residence Permission in the State under the immigration Acts
  • Is a family member of an Irish citizen
  • Is a diplomat and to whom the privileges and immunities conferred by an international agreement or arrangement or customary international law apply in the State, pursuant to the Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Acts 1967 to 2006 or any other enactment or the Constitution

The notice further elaborates that even where an applicant meets the above exceptions, travel should be limited to “essential journeys only”.

The Minister confirms that the Regulations only apply to persons travelling from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

It is confirmed that if you have not been in one of the above countries in the previous 14 days  prior to arrival in the State the Regulations do not apply to you.

Nationals of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe remain visa required persons. Persons who hold nationality of the above countries, who have not been in above  countries for the previous 14 days can apply for a visa in the normal way and are not subject to the narrow exemptions above.

It should be noted that the Minister has a policy to seek proof of lawful residence in the country from which a visa required national applies for their visa to Ireland. Our experience has been that the Relevant Irish Embassy/Visa Office will seek evidence of lawful residence permission from the applicant in the Country from which they have applied for their visa.

The full update of 6th December  can be found below:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/covid-19-visa-arrangements/

This notice is complex and the Immigration procedures for nationals of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have now been amended at least three times within a period of 2 weeks.

This highlights the continued uncertainty and ongoing challenges of the pandemic.  We understand the distress and worry this will have caused to those affected.

If this notice affects you or your family, please do not hesitate to contact Berkeley Solicitors to discuss your case.

NEW ENTRY AND TRANSIT VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN AFRICAN COUNTRIES AMENDED

We refer to our previous blog on 30th November 2021:

https://berkeleysolicitors.ie/new-entry-and-transit-visa-requirements-for-certain-african-countries-announced/

The Minister for Justice has amended the  entry visa and transit visa requirements for nationals of South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho  and Namibia.

The priority categories for which visa applications will be accepted and processed  has been amended and severely reduced to the following:

  • has obtained or is entitled to apply for a right of residence under EU Free Movement;
  • has a valid Residence Permission in the State under the immigration Acts (including persons covered by the interim arrangements that apply from 15 November 2021 to 15 January 2021
  • is a family member of an Irish citizen
  • has not been in one of the following countries (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe) in the previous 14 days prior to the date of travel to the State;
  • is a diplomat and to whom the privileges and immunities conferred by an international agreement or arrangement or customary international law apply in the State, pursuant to the Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Acts 1967 to 2006 or any other enactment or the Constitution.

This is severely reduced from the previous notice, which included employment permit holders and all join family visa applications.

Affected persons  should also take note of the Minister’s note of caution that further changes may take place at short notice.

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

 

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES NEW REGULARISATION SCHEME FOR LONG-TERM UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS

On 3rd December 2021, the Minister for Justice announced a new scheme which will enable many undocumented migrants to apply to regularise their residency status.

The scheme will open for online applications in January 2022 and applications will be accepted for six months.

The scheme will include those who do not have a current permission to reside in Ireland, whether they arrived illegally or whether their permission expired or was withdrawn years ago.

In order to be eligible, applicants must have been undocumented for a period of four years, or three years in the case of those with dependent children.

According to a briefing session with Department of Justice officials held on 2nd December  2021, a short period of absence from the State in the undocumented period for those who would otherwise qualify will be disregarded. This will be limited to a max of 60 days absence from the State and the documented period arising from the short-term tourist permission (up to 90 days).

Applicants must meet standards regarding good character, though having convictions for minor offences will not, of itself, result in disqualification.

There will be no requirement for applicants to demonstrate that they would not be a financial burden on the State, as the scheme is aimed at those who may be economically and socially marginalised as a result of their undocumented status.

The scheme will also be open to individuals with expired student permission, those who have been issued with a section 3 notice under the Immigration Act 1999, and those who have received deportation orders.

The scheme is also expected to include international protection applicants who have been in the asylum process for a minimum of 2 years, though full details on this are yet to be announced.

There will be an application fee of €700 for family unit applications, while a fee of €550 will apply to individuals’ applications. Children up to 23 years, living with their parent(s), can be included in a family unit application.

Successful applicants will be granted residence permission which will allow access to the labour market and will provide a pathway to Irish citizenship.

Announcing the scheme, the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee stated:

“I’m delighted that the Government has approved my proposal for this momentous, once-in-a-generation scheme.

Given that those who will benefit from this scheme currently live in the shadows, it is difficult to say how many will be eligible, but we are opening this scheme for six months from January to allow people come forward and regularise their status.

It will bring some much-needed certainty and peace of mind to thousands of people who are already living here and making a valuable contribution to our society and the economy, many of whom may be very vulnerable due to their current immigration circumstances.”

As a result, they may be reluctant to seek medical assistance when ill, assistance from An Garda Síochána when they are the victim of a crime, or a range of other supports designed to assist vulnerable people in their times of need.”

I believe that in opening this scheme, we are demonstrating the same goodwill and generosity of spirit that we ask is shown to the countless Irish people who left this island to build their lives elsewhere.”

The full announcement can be read here.

Studies suggest that there are 17,000 undocumented persons in the State, including up to 3,000 children.

Berkeley Solicitors welcomes the announcement of this scheme, which will allow many undocumented migrants to come forward and apply to regularise their status.

BERKELEY SOLICITORS VOTED ONE OF IRELAND’S BEST LAW FIRMS 2022

Berkeley Solicitors are delighted to have been voted one of the best law firms in Ireland for 2022 in the category of Human Rights and Immigration.

The list of Ireland’s best law firms for 2022 was published by the Irish Independent following a peer-to-peer survey of more than 1000 legal professionals.

The full list of firms can be found at:

https://www.independent.ie/business/irelands-best-law-firms/irelands-best-law-firms-2022-full-list-41020380.html

Berkeley solicitors would like to thank our clients and colleagues for their support and we look forward to working with you in 2022.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES THE RESUMPTION OF SHORT STAY ENTRY VISA PROCESSING AND THE FINAL EXTENSION OF IMMIGRATION PERMISSIONS

Resumption of Short Stay Entry Visa Processing

On 10th September 2021, the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys TD and the Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne TD, announced the resumption of short stay entry visa processing. This came into effect on Monday, the 13th September 2021 and applications for short stay visas are now open.

Minister Humphreys stated that this decision is pursuant to the Government’s approach to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, Minister Humphreys highlighted that “all travellers arriving into Ireland must continue to comply fully with measures required by law including producing proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative PCR test.”

The resumption will allow nationals of visa required countries to travel to Ireland for the first time since March 2020. Minister Browne acknowledged the positive impact this will have for many,

“As Minister of State for Immigration I fully appreciate how difficult these restrictions, which were necessary to keep us all safe, have been for many people. As we continue to reopen our society, the resumption of short stay visa processing will be welcome news for people who want to travel to Ireland to visit family, to study or for business reasons.”

Information regarding countries which require a visa/ preclearance to enter Ireland can be found here.

The notice can be read in full here.

Final Extension of Immigration Permissions

On 24th September 2021, the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys and the Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne announced a final temporary extension of immigration international protection permissions to 15th January 2022. This extension applies to immigration and international protection permissions to reside in the State that are due to expire between 21st September 2021 and 15th January 2022.

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 15th January 2022.

Any permission that was renewed by the previous notices and was due to expire between 21st September 2021 and 15th January 2022 is automatically renewed by this notice until 15th January 2022. 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 Humphreys commented:

“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 final automatic extension to 15 January 2022 for anyone already holding a valid permission.”

“This extension will benefit those that have so far been unable to get an appointment to register a first time permission or have yet to renew an existing permission. However, I must emphasise that this will be the final temporary extension and I strongly encourage everyone to use the time between now and 15 January to make all efforts do so and not to wait until the last minute when demand may be high.”

The notice further highlights that the Registration Office in Burgh Quay is open for appointments and customers based in Dublin can renew a permission online at https://inisonline.jahs.ie. For customers outside of Dublin, renewals are processed by the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Information in relation to registration offices located outside Dublin can be found at www.garda.ie/en/contact-us/station-directory.

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.