Tag Archive for: Irish immigration

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS GRANTED LEAVE TO APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT

CLIENTS OF BERKELEY SOLICITORS GRANTED LEAVE TO APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT

Clients of Berkeley Solicitors have received a positive determination granting leave to appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal decision FSH and Others v Minister for Justice [2024] IECA 44.

The case concerns a Somali woman residing in Ireland 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, and in particular paragraph 1.12 which states as follows:

“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 visa applications were refused.

The applicant subsequently challenged the decision to refuse her application by way of Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court. The Court quashed the Minister’s decision to refuse the visa applications for the four minor applicants.

This judgement was subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal, and the judgement of the High Court was overturned.

The applicant applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court for an order quashing the order of the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court found that the case does raise matters of general public importance and granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found as follows:

“The Court is of the opinion that the proposed appeal does raise matters of general public importance relating to the operation of the Minister’s policy on Non-EEA Family Reunification, and in particular, the precise nature of the exceptional circumstances test, how that test is to be applied and the standard of review to be applied when decisions made by the Minister pursuant to the policy are challenged by way of judicial review. These issues may arise in a number of other cases, and it is in the public interest to obtain further clarity, particularly given the conflicting approaches in the High Court and the Court below.”

We are grateful the appeal has been accepted and that a Supreme Court judgement will soon bring clarity to the exceptional circumstances test.

UPDATE ON UKRAINIAN NATIONALS TRAVELLING TO IRELAND

UPDATE ON UKRAINIAN NATIONALS TRAVELLING TO IRELAND

The Department of Justice recently announced that from 5th June 2024, temporary measures which allowed Ukrainian nationals to travel to Ireland without a valid biometric passport ceased to be in effect. In accordance with Section 4 of the Immigration Act 2004, all third country nationals, including Ukrainians, must possess a valid biometric passport.

Ireland temporarily suspended the requirement for a biometric passport for Ukrainian nationals in 2022 as part of a wide-ranging emergency response to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Under this suspension, Ukrainian nationals seeking to enter the State could rely upon alternative documentation as proof of their nationality including expired biometric passports or internal passports.

This temporary suspension supported a swift response to the crisis and ensured that those who could not access or renew their travel documents could still flee to safety. However, as the situation has evolved since the outbreak of the war, the Department of Justice is seeking to move to a more sustainable response.

This announcement does not impact the temporary protection status of Ukrainian nationals already in Ireland if they do not have a valid biometric passport. However, it is important for Ukrainian nationals to be aware of this requirement if making any plans to temporarily leave the country as they will require a valid biometric passport to re-enter Ireland.

The full announcement can be found here:

Important Information for Ukrainian nationals – Immigration Service Delivery (irishimmigration.ie)

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.

 

PROCESSING TIMES FOR FOREIGN BIRTH REGISTRATION

PROCESSING TIMES FOR FOREIGN BIRTH REGISTRATION

The Department of Foreign Affairs have stated on their website that the current estimated processing time for Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) application is over two years.

Otherwise known as Citizenship by descent, FBR applications are a complex process, requiring applicants to submit official documentation relating to three generations, which may have been issued by several jurisdictions.

The DFA’s guidance for FBR applications on their website states that there has been an increase in the number of these applications being submitted, and notably they have seen an increase in the number of incomplete applications.

The DFA’s guidance emphasises the importance of submitting the required, original documentation and paying the appropriate fee at the time of application to avoid any delays in the processing of your application.

At present the guidance states that after all the correct physical documents are received it takes over two years to process a Foreign Birth Registration application. The website further sates however that they have set up a new Foreign Birth Registration teams in an aim to manage the increased volume of applications and efficiency.

This blog has been drafted with reference to the following website:

https://www.ireland.ie/en/dfa/citizenship/#Foreign%20Birth%20Registration

For further details on applying for Foreign Birth Registration, please visit the following link:

https://www.ireland.ie/en/dfa/citizenship/born-abroad/registering-a-foreign-birth/

Berkeley Solicitors are available to provide support and assistance to any Foreign Birth Registration applicants.

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.

MINISTER RICHMOND ANNOUNCES LARGEST EVER EXPANSION TO THE EMPLOYMENT PERMITS SYSTEM

On the 20th of December 2023, the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retails announced significant changes to Ireland’s employment permits system. These changes include an increase in salary thresholds for permit holders and an additional 43 occupations becoming eligible for employment permits.

Minister Richmond stated that the changes have been introduced to reflect both inflation and economic growth in the State and the necessity and of the skills, experience and cultural diversity that Migrants bring to Irish society.

From 17th January 2024, the minimum salary for new General Employment Permits (GEP) will increase from €30,000 to €34,000. Employers seeking to hire GEP roles are advised should advertise this salary rate as Labour Market Needs Tests that do not reflect the appropriate salary will be rejected.

The new standard Critical Skills Employment Permit minimum salary requirement has also increased to from €34,000 to €38,000.

Health care assistants and home carers salary requirement will increase from €27,000 to €30,000 and the minimum salary for meat processors and horticultural workers will increase from €22,000 to €30,000. These changes bring all permit holders in line with the minimum salary requirement for family reunification as many workers in these roles will wish to avail of this.

Additionally, a number of occupations have now become eligible for employment permits as of 20th December 2023.

Occupations added to the Critical Skills Occupations List include:

  • Professional Forester
  • Resource modelling, earth observation and data analyst
  • Meteorologist
  • Operational Forecaster
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • BIM Manager
  • Optometrist (Ophthalmic Optician)
  • Commercial Manager
  • BIM Coordinator/Technician
  • Estimator

Occupations eligible for a General Employment Permit:

  • Residential Day and Domiciliary Case Managers – in Disability Services
  • Play Therapist – in Disability Services
  • Genetic Counsellor
  • Social Care Worker
  • Family Support Workers – in Disability Services
  • Project Offices, Disability
  • Support Worker (social, community, public and charity)
  • Guide Dog Mobility Instructor for the Visually Impaired
  • Autism Assistance Dog Instructor
  • Pig Managers
  • Smiths and forge workers
  • Moulders, core makers and die casters
  • Metal plate workers and riveters
  • Car mechanic, Motor mechanic, Auto electrician, Motor vehicle technician
  • HGV mechanic
  • Vehicle body builders and repairers/Body shop panel beaters
  • Electrician, electrical contractor, electrical engineer,
  • Vehicle paint technician
  • Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades supervisors
  • Upholstery and furniture operatives
  • Butchers/(de)boner
  • Baker
  • Furniture makers and other craft woodworkers
  • Senior Care Workers – in Disability Services
  • Textile Process Operatives
  • Wood Machine Operatives
  • Saw Doctor/Wood Machine Mechanic
  • Armature Rewinder
  • Pig Farm Assistants
  • Speciality Forestry Harvesting Technician

 

Further occupations which had previously been made eligible for General Employment Permits have had their quotas extended as follows:

  • 1,000 GEPs for meat processing operatives
  • 350 GEPs for butcher/deboners
  • 350 GEPs for dairy farm assistants
  • 1,000 GEPs have been provided for horticultural workers to support the sector until the introduction of the Seasonal Employment Permit 

 

For further information, please see the below guidance note published by the Department of Enterprise:

https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/publications/publication-files/advisory-note-users-of-employment-permit-system.pdf

 

Please see also the below link for details of Minister Richmond’s announcement:

https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/news-and-events/department-news/2023/december/20122023.html

 

Berkeley Solicitors are available to provide support and assistance to any employment permit applicants.

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.

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.