Tag Archive for: immigration

IMMIGRATION SERVICE DELIVERY ANNOUNCE INITIATIVE TO FACILITATE CUSTOMER TRAVELLING AT CHRISTMAS

The Minister for Justice recently published a notice on their website to facilitate customers who may wish to travel over the Christmas and New Year period.

The Travel Confirmation Notice states that Non-EU/EEA residents who have submitted an application to renew their permission in advance of its expiry, may use their current recently expired IRP card to travel between 6th December 2023 and 31st January 2024.

The notice has been introduced in consideration of the current backlog in processing renewals.

 

The notice only applies to persons who have submitted an application to renew their permission, prior to its expiry. The entitlement will not apply to persons who submitted an application for renewal after its expiry.

To avail if this notice, persons should have the following on hand for their travels during this period:

 

 

The ISD state that they have advised all airlines and foreign missions of the Irish initiative in place of this note, however it cannot force them to comply.

From the 31st of January 2024 onwards, a valid in date IRP card and/or appropriate visa will be required where non-nationals intend to re-enter the State.

 

For further details of the initiative please see the below link:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/immigration-service-delivery-isd-announces-initiative-to-facilitate-customers-travelling-at-christmas/

 

For frequently asked questions of the notice, please see the below link:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/ISD-Website-Travel-Notice-FAQs-2023-1.pdf

 

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

 

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

RECENT REFUSALS OF EMPLOYMENT PERMIT VISAS

Late last year, Ms Justice Bolger of the High Court delivered a judgement in the case of S v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 578, which we discuss in detail in our blog post available here: https://berkeleysolicitors.ie/recent-high-court-judgement-refusal-of-travel-visa-for-employment-permit-holder/

 

The case concerned an Indian citizen who was granted a work permit to take up a position as a tandoori chef. The Applicant then applied for a visa to enable him enter Ireland to take up this employment position, but his visa application was refused. The Applicant appealed against this refusal; his appeal was also unsuccessful. The Applicant initiated Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court, seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision. Ms Justice Bolger found for the applicant and granted the order quashing the decision.

 

We noted in our blog post that this case raises the conflict that can arise when a person has been granted an employment permit and requires an employment visa to enter the State.

 

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment have responsibility for the issuance of employment permits. When a person who has been granted an employment permit is a national of a country that requires an entry visa to enter Ireland, their application to enter Ireland for the purpose of employment is subjected to a review by the Minister for Justice in their visa application.

 

The Minister in respect of the Applicant in the S case had found in the refusal decision that the Applicant had not provided sufficient evidence that they had the appropriate skills, knowledge, or experience for the employment position in Ireland. The High Court found that a work permit does not constitute prima facie evidence that the Applicant has the skills and experience required for the proposed employment. However, the Court found that it also cannot simply be ignored.

 

The Minister for Justice does not limit her assessment of a visa application to immigration matters only and will often undertake an examination of the Applicant’s suitability for the employment position they have been issued an employment permit for. We are now seeing a series of visa refusals which rely on the S case to allow the Visa Officer to re-assess the Applicant’s suitability for the prospective employment. Some refusals purport to state, in the case of roles such as horticultural workers, meat processing operatives, dairy farm assistants, and healthcare assistants, as such roles require no or few qualifications or experience in circumstances where the employer will provide training, that the Visa Officer is entitled, “in the absence of such safeguards” to “thoroughly assess” an applicant’s suitability to perform their duties. We believe that many of these decisions may unlawfully ignore the employer’s duty to provide training in respect of these roles, and that Visa Office may be inferring an additional requirement at visa processing stage to show qualifications and experience in roles where no qualifications or experience are required by the Department of Enterprise.

 

We further note that these decisions may place an undue reliance on the S case to ignore the Department of Enterprise’s role in assessing a candidate’s suitability for a proposed role. Bolger J. stated at paragraph 37 that: “I do not consider the work permit constitutes the type of prima facie evidence that is contended for by the applicant. However, neither do I accept that it can be ignored.” [emphasis added]. We note that the context to the above quote is that the applicant in that case contended that the Visa Officer “cannot look behind the grant of the permit or require an applicant for a visa to show that they are qualified to do the job for which they were granted that permit.” This would preclude the Visa Offer from having any consideration of the Applicant’s qualifications, skills, or experience in respect of the proposed role. This was not considered to be the case by the High Court. However, importantly, neither can the issuance of the work permit by the Department of Enterprise be ignored in considering an Applicant’s suitability for the proposed role. Therefore, while the issuance of a work permit cannot in and of itself constitute evidence of qualifications and experience or the offer of sufficient training, it is certainly persuasive, and cannot be ignored in the Visa Officer’s consideration of an Applicant’s suitability for the proposed role.

 

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

NEW ACT INTRODUCING SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP COMMENCED

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has commenced the majority of the provisions of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023.
This Act has introduced significant amendments to immigration, citizenship and naturalisation law in Ireland, to take effect from 31st July 2023. The major changes are outlined below:
The Act contains amendments to a number of provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts.
Children born in the State who are not entitled to Irish citizenship by birth, will now be eligible to apply for naturalisation after three years of reckonable residency in the State, reduced from five years……

Clients of Berkeley Solicitors win their judicial review case before the High Court in N.I. V MJE 2022 / 442 /JR

Clients of Berkeley Solicitors win their judicial review case before the High Court in N.I. V MJE 2022 / 442 /JR

Berkeley Solicitors would like to congratulate our clients who have received a positive judgement from the High Court today in their Judicial review proceedings.

The applicant, a minor Somali citizen, issued proceedings through her aunt and next friend challenging a decision of the Minister for Justice to refuse the her visa appeal to join her aunt and family in Ireland following the death of both her parents in Somalia.

We argued on behalf of our clients that the Minister acted in breach of fair procedures on a number of grounds. In refusing to grant the visa, it was submitted that the Minister failed to fully consider the best interests of the applicant in light of her particularly vulnerable position as a 14-year-old orphan residing outside her country of origin, without familial support.

It was submitted by the Respondent that the Applicant had failed to show sufficient evidence of a familial link between the applicant and the sponsor. Furthermore, it was submitted that the sponsor did not prove that she ‘is, or ever had been, socially or financially dependent on the sponsor’. The Minister also considered that the adoption of the Applicant was not recognisable under Irish law in light of the fact that there is no bilateral treaty in existence between Ireland and Somalia governing adoptions and similarly, that Somalia is not a party to the Hague Convention.

As a result, the Minister held that neither Article 41 of the Constitution nor Article 8 of the ECHR protecting the right to family life were applicable to the Applicant and the sponsor.
In setting aside the decision of the Minister, Mr Justice Barr held that the decision maker erred on a number of grounds in failing to recognise that a 14-year old orphan, ‘without any family support in a very unstable country, was not in an extremely vulnerable position, such that it constituted exceptional circumstances’.

Acknowledging the importance of family reunification in situations where individuals had fled persecution, Justice Barr held the Respondent was wrong in concluding that ‘there was no documentary evidence of familial relationship between the applicant and sponsor’. It was accepted that a number of important documents to this effect had been submitted by the Applicant, including a court order transferring guardianship of the application to the sponsor.

Furthermore, the emphasis placed by the decision maker on the issue of adoption as a basis for refusal, ‘an argument that was never put forward by the applicant, nor was put to her for comment’, was held to have breached the applicants right to fair procedure, rendering the decision ‘fatally flawed’.

Referring to the case of Tanda-Muzinga v France (2260/2010), the following passage was highlighted by the Court:
‘there exists a consensus at international and European level on the need for refugees to benefit from a family reunification procedure that is more favourable than that foreseen for other aliens, as evidenced by the remit and the activities of the UNHCR and the standards set out in Directive 2003/86 EC of the European Union’.

It was highlighted by the Court that this obligation is envisioned under Irish law in s.56 of the International Protection Act, 2015. Similarly, in line with our duties under Article 10.1 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, that ‘applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner’.

Significantly, it was held that the Appeals officer hadn’t sufficiently considered ‘the extremely adverse consequences’ the refusal decision represented for the applicant. As a result, the Court held that the decision clearly constituted ‘exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature, which would have justified a departure from the financial requirements of the policy’.
The Judgement will be available on the High Court webpage in the coming days.

Our office wishes to congratulate our clients on this positive development in their case today and would also like to thank our counsel for their dedicated work on this case.

RECENT UPDATES TO DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALISATION APPLICATIONS

The Department of Justice have recently made a number of changes to the documentary requirements for naturalisation applications.

On 21st April 2023, a new notice was published on the Minister’s website confirming that all new applicants for naturalisation are only required to provide a certified colour copy of the biometric page of their current passport. The colour copy of the biometric page can be certified by a Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths, Peace Commissioner or Notary Public.

This replaces the old system introduced in January 2022 which required applicants to provide a full certified copy of their current passport and any previous passports valid during the period of reckonable residency claimed.

The full notice is available here: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/further-guidance-on-new-passport-process-when-submitting-an-application-for-naturalisation/

The Department also introduced a new Citizenship Guidance Document on 24th May 2023, outlining a number of changes to the scorecard system for proofs of identity and residence.

The Document outlines a new two-part system in which applicants exhibit their residency in Ireland for the periods of reckonable residency claimed.

For each of these years, applicants must provide one Type A document, worth 100 points, and one Type B document, worth 50 points.

Applicants are required to attain 150 points for proofs of identity and proofs of residence.

However, if applicants are unable to meet the 150-point threshold for any of the years, applicants can prepare a ‘residential proof affidavit’ to address the shortfall.

The Citizenship Guidance Document can be accessed here: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Citizenship-Guidance-Document.pdf

Berkeley Solicitors is highly specialised in citizenship applications. Please do contact us if you need advice or assistance in this regard.

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS WIN THEIR CASE BEFORE THE HIGH COURT IN H AND ORS V MINISTER FOR JUSTICE 2022 No 553 JR

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS WIN THEIR CASE BEFORE THE HIGH COURT IN H AND ORS V MINISTER FOR JUSTICE 2022 No 553 JR

Berkeley Solicitors would like to congratulate our client who was successful in her proceedings today.
The applicant is a Somali woman who issued proceedings to challenge the decision of the Minister of Justice refusing long stay visas for her four minor children to join her in Ireland.

The case was brought by way of Judicial Review and was heard by Mr Justice Barr.

In issuing his judgment, Mr Justice Barr found that the key issue in this case was the exceptional humanitarian circumstances that were at play. Justice Barr found that ‘there was no evidence that the decision maker engaged in any real way’ with such factors. Justice Barr submitted throughout his judgment that the respondent failed to take into account ‘the very significant personal dilemma that faced by (the applicant) at the time’ as well as the state of deep political and social unrest faced by citizens in Somalia.

The case concerned a Somali woman who had fled to Ireland to join her sister by way of family reunification under S.18(4) of the Refugee Act 1996. The applicant subsequently applied for her minor children to join her in the State pursuant to the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification, however her application, and appeal on this decision were refused.

The respondent submitted there was insufficient evidence to corroborate a familial link between the mother and the minor applicants, stating that in entering Ireland:

‘she relinquished her role as the primary caregiver, with the knowledge that the Family Reunification appeal may be refused.’

Mr Justice Barr submitted that such a finding by the Minister was harsh, unfair and irrational.

The respondents further submitted that the applicant was not an eligible sponsor for the visa applications for her children as she had not resided for longer than one year in the State as required by paragraph 16.4 of the Policy Document.

Mr Justice Barr submitted that this case is of an exceptional humanitarian nature and therefore the policy can be departed from in such circumstances pursuant to paragraph 1.12 of the Policy Document:

‘While this document sets down guidelines for the processing of cases, it is intended that decision makers will retain the discretion to grant family reunification in cases that on the face of it do not appear to meet the requirements of the policy. This is to allow the system to deal with those rare cases that present an exceptional set of circumstances, normally humanitarian, that would suggest that the appropriate and proportionate decision should be positive’
The respondents further submitted that the test in finding whether the case in question was of an exceptional humanitarian nature was whether it could be demonstrated that ‘their circumstances are more severe to that of other Somali citizens’

The court found that the decision maker fell into error in making this finding. Mr Justice Barr stated that in order to circumvent the requirements of the policy document it is only necessary for them to establish that they constitute an exceptional set of circumstances. It was found that this ‘does not mean they have to prove their circumstances within the particular country in question are exceptional by the standards of that country.’

Mr Justice Barr also submitted that any submission made by the Minister in relation to errors in spelling on the applicant’s documents, occurring as a result of translations, were of probative value and were made irrationally and unfairly.

Mr Justice Barr further submitted that the financial requirements of the policy document were applied against the applicant without proper consideration of the exceptional humanitarian circumstances.

Mr Justice Barr stated this it was a key issue of the case that the Minister did not engage in a real way the with the exceptional humanitarian circumstances of the case.

The court summarized the findings as follows:

‘In summary, the court holds that to have applied the eligibility criteria and the
financial requirements of the policy in refusing the visa applications on behalf of the
minor applicants, while effectively ignoring the past circumstances of the first
applicant and her children, together with their present circumstances in Somalia, and
in not considering whether these constituted exceptional circumstances, which
warranted a departure from the strict requirements of the policy, rendered the decision
irrational and unfair. On this basis it has to be set aside.’

The court ultimately issued an order of certiorari quashing the Minister’s decision to refuse the visa applications for the four minor applicants.
The full judgement can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/231745d1-c37c-45e1-a633-248484d0ebf0/2023_IEHC_316.pdf/pdf#view=fitH

We wish to extend our congratulations to our clients for this ruling.

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

ISD NOTICE CONFIRMS THAT TEMPORARY PROTECTION HOLDERS DO NOT NEED TO APPLY FOR A NEW TEMPORARY PROTECTION CERTIFICATE



The Department of Justice has recently published a travel confirmation notice for beneficiaries of Temporary Protection, benefiting from the Temporary Protection Directive.

The notice confirms that the Minister for Justice has extended immigration permissions for all beneficiaries of Temporary protection to 4th March 2024. From 16th February 2023, non-nationals with a Temporary Protection Certificate living in Ireland will not need to apply for a new Temporary Protection Certificate.

Expired certificates can be used as proof of entitlement to Temporary Protection and any related state services, up until 4th March 2024.

If a Temporary Protection holder has an expired Temporary Protection Certificate, and they intend to travel and subsequently re-enter the State, if they are a national of Ukraine or a non-visa required national, no action is necessary.

If they are a national of a country that is a visa-required national for Ireland, the Department of Justice have advised to contact [email protected] to ensure that the Temporary Protection holder has the necessary documents to re-enter Ireland without a visa.

The full Travel Confirmation Notice can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/travel-confirmation-notice/

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

IMMIGRATION SERVICE DELIVERY ANNOUNCE BRIDGING PERMISSION FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE STUDENTS ENROLLED IN HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES

IMMIGRATION SERVICE DELIVERY ANNOUNCE BRIDGING PERMISSION FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE STUDENTS ENROLLED IN HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES

Immigration Service Delivery have announced a bridging permission for students enrolled in English Language courses who have subsequently enrolled in a Higher Education Programme. The bridging permission applies where students have successfully completed a second or third course and have then enrolled in a Higher Education Programme commencing by the end of October 2023.

The bridging permission will be a short-term Stamp 2 permission, which will be granted until 30th September 2023. The permission will be valid from the date of expiry of their current IRP card. It is a requirement that applicants provide documentary evidence of a confirmed and fully paid Higher Education Programme listed on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) commencing September 2023.

Students wishing to avail of this bridging permission must have an in-date IRP card, or a card that has expired within one month when applying for the permission. They must apply for the permission via their local immigration office if residing outside of Dublin, or via the online portal if residing in Dublin. Students must satisfy the criteria for the bridging permission, provide evidence of their enrolment in a Higher Education Programme listed on the ILEP, and provide evidence that the course fees have been paid in full.

Further details on the bridging permission can be found here:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/english-language-students-stamp-2-bridging-permission/

Details on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes can be found here:

https://www.irishimmigration.ie/coming-to-study-in-ireland/what-are-my-study-options/interim-list-of-eligible-programmes-ilep/

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

STAMP 0 PERMISSION ACCEPTED AS RECKONABLE RESIDENCE FOR NATURALISATION

IMMIGRATION IN IRELAND STATISTICS MID-TERM REVIEW

 

The Department of Justice has provided up to date statistics from January 2022 to June 2022 in relation to, Residency and EU Treaty Rights, Visa, Citizenship statistics, International protection, and Removal/Deportation. The statistics were broken down by nationality, gender, and age group.

In relation to EU Treaty Rights Applications from January to June 2022, the data shows that nationals from Brazil, South Africa, and Pakistan were the top nationalities of applications received by the Department of Justice. 1356 applications were received from Brazil, 240 from Pakistan, and 153 from South Africa.

The statistics found that nationals from India, Egypt, and China were the top nationalities for Long Term Residency Applications. 30 applications for Indian nationals, 26 applications for Egyptian nationals, and 25 for Chinese nationals (including Hong Kong).

The total visas decided from January to June 2022 were primarily from India, Nigeria, and Turkey. With 21535 visas from Indian nationals, 3396 visas from Nigerian nationals, and 3019 visas from Turkish nationals. In total, most of the visas granted were for Indian (20736 visas), Turkish (2812 visas), and Chinese nationals (2477 visas). The most refused visas were for nationals from Nigeria (1568), India (799), and Pakistan (541), with an overall number of 5825 visas refused. The total decided re-entry visas from January to June 2022 were from Indian, Pakistani and Egyptian nationals.

From January to June 2022, there were 7039 citizenship certificates issued, mainly in respect of United Kingdom, Indian, and Pakistani nationals.

In total, there were 6495 applications received relating to International Protection Applications for 2022. Mainly from Georgia (1811), Somalia (938), and Algeria (698). Out of those applications, there were 1037 applications that have been approved, primarily from Somalia, Afghanistan, and Zimbabwe. Moreover, 1657 applications were refused primarily from Nigeria (216), Georgia (216), Zimbabwe (204).

In relation to Family Reunification Applications, there were 1137 applications submitted from January to June 2022, mainly from nationals of Somalia (489), Afghanistan (247), and Syria (69). 1911 applications for access to the labour market were submitted from January to June 2022, mainly from Somalia, Georgia, and Nigeria nationals.

There were 23 total removals effected, primarily from Romania, Lithuania, and Poland nationals. 54 deportations effected primarily from Pakistan, Nigeria, and Georgia nationals.

The book for the full statistics can be found here: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Mid-Year-Review-Statistics-Booklet-2022.pdf

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.

ADVOCATE GENERAL’S OPINION FINDS IRELAND CANNOT REFUSE DISABILITY ALLOWANCE TO DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF EU WORKER

ADVOCATE GENERAL’S OPINION FINDS IRELAND CANNOT REFUSE DISABILITY ALLOWANCE TO DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF EU WORKER

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has released an opinion by the Advocate General in relation to Case C-488/21, Voican v Chief Appeals Officer.

The case concerns GV, a Romanian national, and her daughter AC, a dual Romanian Irish citizen. GV joined her daughter in Ireland in 2017, on the basis that under EU law, some family members, including dependent parents, may join a mobile EU worker in the Member States in which they live and work. The applicant has been financially dependent on her daughter and has also suffered from degenerative changes in her arthritis.

In 2017, GV made an application for Disability Allowance under the Irish Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. This was refused, and the appeal of the decision was also refused. Both decisions stated that the reason for the refusal was that GV did not have a right of residence in Ireland.

On review, it was found that GV, as a dependent direct relative of an EU citizen working in Ireland, had a right of residence, but was not entitled to social assistance payment. It was argued that under Irish law, GV must not become an unreasonable burden on the national social assistance system.

In the Advocate General’s opinion, she stated that the CJEU should embrace a broad concept of family dependency, which should extend to the material, financial, physical and/or emotional support of a family member. Therefore, even if GV would no longer need the financial support of her daughter, she might still fulfil the requirement of dependency which allowed her to join her daughter in the State. Thus, a Member State awarding financial support by way of a social assistance allowance does not terminate the dependency of the supported person.

The opinion highlighted that at the EU level, there is a legislative consensus about the acceptable balance between the interests of free movement of workers between Member States, and the concerns for the welfare systems of each Member State. The result of that consensus is that neither mobile EU workers nor their dependent direct relatives who are residing legally with them can be regarded as an unreasonable burden by that State. In accordance with the principle of equal treatment, such family members can only be regarded as a reasonable or unreasonable burden in the same way that nationals of that State could be regarded as so.

Therefore, a Member State cannot refuse access to special social assistance payments to a dependent direct relative of a mobile EU worker, on the ground that they represent an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system of that State.

Please note that the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the CJEU. The full judgement on this case will be given at a later date.

This blog article has been prepared on the basis of current immigration law and policy, which is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page where articles relating to updates and changes in immigration law and policy are regularly posted.