Tag Archive for: Irish Immigration law

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE RENEWAL AND REGISTRATION OF IMMIGRATION PERMISSIONS

On the 27th May 2022, the Minister of Justice announced new arrangements for the renewal and registration of immigration permissions. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister for Justice automatically extended immigration permissions of those who held a valid permission to reside in the State that expired in or after March 2020. The Minister of Justice made announcements on nine different occasions, each time stating that permissions would be automatically renewed to a certain date. The most recent extension announced by the Minister extended immigrations permissions to the 31st May 2022.

For the first time since March 2020, the Minister for Justice has announced that immigration permissions that expired between March 2020 and May 2022 will no longer be automatically renewed. The Minister announced that the exemption from renewing is to end from the 31st May 2022.

The extension of immigration permissions was a response by the Department of Justice to the ever-changing and uncertain health and travel restrictions that were in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In making the announcement, the Minister for Justice commented;

Now that those circumstances are returning to normal, it is important that we also return to a more normal way of doing business. This includes in relation to first-time registrations and renewals, and processes and procedures have been in place to allow customers to do so for some time now.

You can apply to renew your immigration permission online at https://inisonline.jahs.ie/. Those applying with a new passport can now also upload the bio-page of their passport online.

Previously, it was a requirement that you had to wait until four weeks before your permission was due to expire to be able to renew. This has been amended, and you can now renew your permission up to 12 weeks in advance of your permission expiring.

Those based in Dublin can register their immigration permission for the first time by calling Freephone number 1800 741 741. Those located outside of Dublin are required to make an appointment to register their immigration permission through the Garda Station network.

The Minister of Justice announced important clarifications for employees whose immigration permission has expired and who are unable to obtain a valid IRP card before the 31st May 2022. The Minister has confirmed non-EEA nationals can legally continue work while their application for renewal is processing once they can provide their employer with documentary evidence of same.

In the announcement, the Minister also confirmed that students who intend to enroll in third level education, can apply for a short-term letter of permission based on proof of application or enrolment once they have completed three eight-month English language courses.

 

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.

THE TEMPORARY PROTECTION DIRECTIVE

Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20th July 2001, the ‘Temporary Protection Directive’, was established by the European Union as a response to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo in the 1990s, that highlighted the need for a tool to assist with max influxes of displaced persons into EU member states.

On the 4th March 2022, the Council adopted unanimously the implementing decision to activate the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since its establishment, for persons fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

The Council Implementing Decision that activated the Directive highlights;

The Union has shown and will continue to show its resolute support to Ukraine and its citizens, faced with an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian Federation.

The Directive is grounded in solidarity and promotes a balance of efforts between EU Member States. It is a legislative tool that enables Member States to offer persons legally resident in Ukraine who are fleeing the war, temporary protection upon arrival in an EU member state. Temporary protection will be initially provided for 12 months. Unless terminated, this period will be extended automatically by six monthly periods for a maximum of one year.

The Council Implementing Decision notes that those who are eligible for temporary protection under the Directive will “enjoy harmonised rights across the Union.” Persons holding temporary protection in Ireland will enjoy the rights afforded under Section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015;

(a) to seek and enter employment, to engage in any business, trade, or profession and to have access to education and training in the State in the like manner and to the like extent in all respects as an Irish citizen,

(b) to receive, upon and subject to the same conditions applicable to Irish citizens, the same medical care, and the same social welfare benefits as those to which Irish citizens are entitled, and

(c) to the same rights of travel in the State as those to which Irish citizens are entitled.

The below paragraphs outline who will be covered by the Directive;

  • Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24 February 2022 following the military invasion by Russian armed forces on that date;

 

  • Third-country nationals or stateless persons legally residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24 February 2022 following the military invasion by Russian armed forces on that date and who are unable to return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions because of the situation prevailing in that country. This could include persons enjoying refugee status or equivalent protection, or who were asylum seekers in Ukraine at the time of the events leading to the mass influx. Third-country nationals who were legally residing in Ukraine on a long-term basis at the time of the events leading to the mass influx should enjoy temporary protection regardless of whether they could return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions; and

 

  • Family members of the above two categories of people, in so far as the family already existed in Ukraine at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx, regardless of whether the family member could return to his or her country of origin in safe and durable conditions. In line with Council Directive 2001/55, a family member is considered as the spouse of the above two categories of people or his or her unmarried partner in a stable relationship, where the legislation or practice of the Member State concerned treats unmarried couple in a way comparable to married couples under its law relating to aliens; the minor unmarried children of the of the above two categories of people or of his or her spouse, without distinction as to whether they were born in or out wedlock or adopted; other close relatives who lived together as part of the family unit at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx, and who were wholly or mainly dependent of the above two categories of people.

 

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to express our deepest concerns for the people of Ukraine.

If you or your family require advice on your eligibility for temporary protection or in respect of visa applications for family members in third countries, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

The Temporary Protection Directive can be found here.

The Council Implementing Decision that activated the Temporary Protection Directive can be found here.

VISA REQUIREMENTS BETWEEN UKRAINE AND IRELAND LIFTED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT

Up until today, nationals of Ukraine required entry visas to travel to and enter Ireland.

This involves submitting a detailed visa application to the Irish Embassy prior to travel. This process can often incur long delays and requires a huge array of original documentation.

On the 25th February 2022, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee has announced that nationals of Ukraine are now non-visa required persons in the Irish immigration context and that this emergency measure will be implemented with immediate effect.

This means that nationals of Ukraine no longer require an entry visa in advance of travel to the State and can travel to the State and request entry at the border as a non-visa required national.

In the Minister’s press release it is stated that those who travel to Ireland from Ukraine without a visa during this time will be given 90 days to regularise their immigration permission in the State.

The appropriate immigration application to make upon arrival in Ireland will differ depending on the particular circumstances of the person arriving.

In a statement, Minister McEntee stated that she is “appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the unjustified and unprovoked attack against a democratic sovereign state in Europe.” Minister McEntee confirmed that Ireland stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The full announcement can be read here.

We welcome the Minister’s action which may assist citizens of Ukraine to flee to safety and assist families in Ireland to be reunited with their Ukrainian family members on an urgent basis and avoid a delayed visa processing system.

Berkeley Solicitors wishes to express our deepest concerns for the people of Ukraine and if you or your family require legal advice in respect of the matters raised in this blog please do not hesitate to get in touch.

STATELESS CHILD BORN IN IRELAND GRANTED A CERTIFICATE OF NATIONALITY

We at Berkeley Solicitors would like to extend our warmest congratulations to our client and their minor child who was recently granted a certificate of nationality pursuant to Section 28 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.

The case involved a minor child whose parents hold “Aliens” passports, and do not have citizenship of any country.

Our client is therefore a stateless minor child who was born in Ireland but was not entitled to Irish citizenship by birth pursuant to Section 6A of the Irish National and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended because neither of their parents has acquired three years reckonable residence prior to the birth of their child.

Section 6 (3) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended, which states as follows.

“A person born in the island of Ireland is an Irish citizen from birth if he or she is not entitled to citizenship of any other country.”

In order for our client to have her right to Irish citizenship recognised under this provision, we applied to the Minister for a Certificate of Nationality pursuant to Section 28 of the 1956 Act which states as follows:

“(1) Any person who claims to be an Irish citizen, other than a naturalised Irish citizen, may apply to the Minister or, if resident outside Ireland, to any Irish diplomatic officer or consular officer for a certificate of nationality stating that the applicant is, at the date of the certificate, an Irish citizen; and the Minister or officer, if satisfied that-

(a) the applicant is an Irish citizen, and

(b) the issue of the certificate is necessary in all the circumstances of the case,
may issue a certificate of nationality to him accordingly.”

The granting of this application now means that our client is recognised as an Irish citizen by birth on the basis that she is not entitled to citizenship in any other country. Our clients can now apply for an Irish passport for their minor child, which is a wonderful conclusion to their case.

This is a significant decision for other stateless persons who may have a baby born in Ireland who is not entitled to any citizenship from another country. We at Berkeley Solicitors would be happy to advise any clients in similar situations and would encourage you or any family members in such positions to contact our office.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT JUDGEMENT ON GOOD CHARACTER ASSESSMENTS IN NATURALISATION APPLICATIONS

The Court of Appeal have delivered another important judgement relating to the Minister’s assessement of “good character” for the purposes of applications for naturalisation in the case of MNN v Minister for Justice and Equality [2020] IECA 187.

Along with the recent judgement of Talla v Minister for Justice and Equality [2020] IECA 135 this judgement is an important ruling with respect to the Minister’s obligations when conducting assessments of “good character” and could see a shift in the way in which applications for naturalisation are to be considered by the Minister.

The applicant in this case applied for naturalisation in October 2013 and received a refusal of his application based on good character grounds.

The applicant declared in his application that he had two convictions for road traffic matters, which occurred in December 2012, namely failure to display road tax and failure to display insurance disc. The applicant had only become aware of these matters in 2013 as the fixed penalty notices and summons had been sent to his former address with his spouse, which he never received.

In early 2016, the Minister sought further information from the applicant in relation to an incident in which he was described in the report as a “witness”, where Section 12 of the Child Care Act had been invoked following a domestic altercation.

The applicant provided a thorough explanation for this matter and had instructed legal representation in September 2017 to make further representations to the Minister. The court described the applicant as providing a “frank and forthright explanation”.

Some four and half years after applying for naturalisation, the applicant’s application was refused in February 2018. The Court examined in detail the “submission” upon which the decision to refuse was based. The Court noted that it was unclear if the decision maker had access to all the relevant information and context, including the applicant’s detailed representations in relation to the incidents.

The Court highlighted that the Minister’s absolute discretion in determining applications for naturalisation does not “relieve the Minister of the obligation to operate within the rule of law”.

The Court goes on to outline a set of principles to be applied in assessing good character and notes that even though naturalisation is a privilege, applicants do not enjoy “inferior legal protection”. Good character is to be assessed “against reasonable standards of civic responsibility” and the connection between character and criminality can only be established when the Minister has all information including “context and mitigating factors”. The Minister must undertake a comprehensive assessment of the person and “all aspects of character”, and “Whether the appellant is a model citizen plays no part in what the Minister has to determine…”.

The Court set out the test for assessing applicants who may have a criminal offence in their past:

“Criminal convictions are relevant to the assessment of character, but they are not, in themselves, determinative thereof. Thus, it is not sufficient for the Minister to have regard only to the fact that an applicant for naturalisation has criminal convictions. What is required is a consideration of ‘all aspects of an applicant’s character’ in deciding whether he or she meets the relevant requirement for the purpose of s. 15 of the Act. The correct test is worth repeating. It is not whether an applicant has previous criminal convictions- it is wider in scope than that. An applicant may be assessed as a person of good character even if he has criminal convictions, perhaps, all the more, so if the convictions in question relate to strict liability offence. Such offences do not depend of personal moral culpability. As noted by Lang J. in Hiri, a person may still be of good character notwithstanding a criminal conviction and a person may not be of good character despite having a clean criminal record.”

The Court reiterates that the Minister is entitled to take into consideration “allegations” or matters that do not result in criminal proceedings, however they should be taken into assessment with “all relevant information”.

The Minster in this case was found to have considered the “alleged incidents” as more than alleged.

The Court emphasised that where the Minister relies on traffic offences to determine that the appellant is not of good character, he must have an understanding of the nature of the offences. Also, the understanding that leads the Minister to conclude that the applicant is not of good character must be stated in reasons that can be understood by the Applicant.

The Court was not satisfied that the Minister had before him all the relevant information to enable him to form a reasonable view as to whether the appellant was of good character. The Court emphasised that there was nothing on the face of the decision to suggest the entire file, including the applicant’s submissions regarding the incidents, were considered by the decision maker.

The decision was therefore held to be unlawful as it was not evident that the Minister had considered the applicant’s submissions in reaching the conclusion that the applicant was not of good character.

The decision making process in itself, was found by the Court to be in breach of natural and constitutional justice.

This is a very significant judgement from the Court of Appeal, because it raises questions regarding the legality of many decisions of the Minister in refusing naturalisation on good character grounds.

If you have been refused naturalisation on the grounds of good character please contact the office to discuss your case with us.

UPDATED INFORMATION ISSUED IN RELATION TO IMMIGRATION SERVICES DURING COVID-19

The Immigration Service Delivery has issued an updated set of frequently asked questions in relation to Covid-19 and its effects on immigration services in the State.

The comprehensive document now confirms that the notice is applicable to those who have permission based on Working Holiday Authorisations.

This welcomed clarification means those whose Working Holiday Authorisation has expired/is due to expire between 20th March 2020 and 20th May 2020 will have their permission extended for a period of two months from date of expiry.

Further, it means that those who have not been able to attend their first-time registration based on their Working Holiday Authorisation may use their permission letter as evidence of their permission in the State.

The full document can be read in full here.

If you have any queries on the above, please contact our office and we would be happy to advise.