Tag Archive for: immigration

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.

UPDATE REGARDING ELIGIBLE SPOUSES AND PARTNERS OF GENERAL EMPLOYMENT PERMIT AND INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREE IRISH EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDERS

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.

UPDATE TO ELIGIBILTY REQUIREMENTS FOR STAMP 4

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.

UPDATE REGARDING ELIGIBLE SPOUSES AND PARTNERS OF GENERAL EMPLOYMENT PERMIT AND INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREE IRISH EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDERS

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.

UPDATE REGARDING ELIGIBLE SPOUSES AND PARTNERS OF GENERAL EMPLOYMENT PERMIT AND INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREE IRISH EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDERS

UPCOMING CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES

The Department of Justice has announced that the next citizenship ceremonies will take place on Monday the 19th and Tuesday the 20th of June 2023. The ceremonies are being hosted at the Killarney Convention Centre in Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Invitations will issue in due course to eligible candidates. Candidates are required to produce identity documents, for example a valid passport, on the day of the ceremony for verification purposes. At the ceremony candidates take an oath of fidelity to the nation, receive their certificate of naturalisation and become Irish citizens.

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to congratulate our clients who have recently been approved their applications for a Certificate of Naturalisation, and all who will be attending these ceremonies.

RECENT SUPREME COURT CASE UPHOLDS MINISTER’S REFUSAL TO EXTEND WORKING HOLIDAY VISA

RECENT SUPREME COURT CASE UPHOLDS MINISTER’S REFUSAL TO EXTEND WORKING HOLIDAY VISA

The Supreme Court has recently delivered a judgement in Jaimee Middelkamp v Minister for Justice and Equality and Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission [2023] IESC 2.

 

The case concerned a Canadian woman who was resident in Ireland pursuant to the Working Holiday Authorisation Scheme, which allows participants between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel to the State to study and work for a limited maximum stay of two years. Ms Middelkamp arrived in the State in 2018 under this Scheme.

 

Ms Middelkamp made an application under s.4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004 before the expiry of her permission, seeking an extended entitlement to remain in Ireland. In her application, Ms Middelkamp highlighted that her husband, a Canadian citizen, was to remain resident in the State for two more years to pursue his studies and that she did not wish to separate from him.

 

This application was refused by the Minister in January 2020, citing the interests of public policy and the common good in maintaining the integrity of the immigration system. The Minister’s decision stated that the appellant’s rights to family life under Art.8 ECHR were not affected by this decision.

 

Ms Middelkamp commenced judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the Minister’s decision, arguing that this violated her right to family life under Art.8 ECHR. The High Court granted an order of certiorari quashing the Minister’s decision. This was then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that Barrett J in the High Court erred in his decision and upheld the decision of the Minister to refuse an extension of Ms Middelkamp’s permission.

 

Hogan J of the Supreme Court found that the Minister’s decision did interfere with Ms Middelkamp’s right to family life under Art.8(1) ECHR, as its effect was to oblige her to separate from her husband for two years. However, he found that this interference was justified as being necessary in a democratic society. Hogan J highlighted that there was a strong public interest in ensuring that the strict terms of the Working Holiday Authorisation Scheme were adhered to, the terms of which Ms Middelkamp expressly agreed to. If the terms of such Schemes were not adhered to, the State’s capacity to operate these limited-time Schemes would be compromised.

 

Hogan J found that the Minister’s decision letter gave sufficiently detailed reasons for the refusal. He found that although the Minister was in error in stating that Ms Middelkamp’s Art.8 ECHR rights were not engaged by the decision, it was implicit in the decision that although these rights were engaged, they did not prevail against broader public policy objectives.

 

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.

UPDATE REGARDING ELIGIBLE SPOUSES AND PARTNERS OF GENERAL EMPLOYMENT PERMIT AND INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREE IRISH EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDERS

DECISIONS TO REVOKE EU FAM RESIDENCE CARDS AND IRISH PASSPORTS POTENTIALLY UNLAWFUL

Two recent judgements of the Superior Courts have called into question the legality of all decisions made by the Minister for Justice in retrospectively revoking EU Fam residence cards, immigration permissions, Irish passports and declarations of refugee status.

 

Please see our previous blog articles on the Supreme Court judgement in U.M ( a minor) v Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ors [2022] IESC 25,  and the High Court judgement in AKS v the Minister for Justice [2023] IEHC 1.

 

If you have received a decision to revoke your EU Fam residence card on the basis that it was never valid or that it was cancelled with effect from a date in the past or have had your application for Irish citizenship deemed ineligible on the basis of revocation of your EU residence card, these decisions may be unlawful.

 

If a child previously held an Irish passport that was cancelled by the Passport Office as a result of revocation of their parents EU Fam residence card or permission to reside in the State, it is also possible that the decision is unlawful.

 

It is important to seek legal advice if these judgements are relevant to your case.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact Berkeley Solicitors if you have been impacted by these important issues.