Tag Archive for: MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

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.

 

RMINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES NEW VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR NATIONALS OF DOMINICA, HONDURAS AND VANUATU, AND VISA WAIVERS FOR CERTAIN DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT HOLDERS

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES NEW VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR NATIONALS OF DOMINICA, HONDURAS AND VANUATU, AND VISA WAIVERS FOR CERTAIN DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT HOLDERS

On the 4th of March 2024, the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced that, effective from 7th March 2024, nationals of Dominica, Honduras and Vanuatu will now be required to obtain a visa before travelling to Ireland.

A transit visa will also be required for nationals of these countries if they are travelling through Ireland on the way to another destination.

The Minister stated that this decision was made to bring Ireland into closer alignment with the visa regime in the UK and Schengen area.

Transitional arrangements will be put in place for nationals of the affected countries who have existing arrangements to travel to the State in the weeks after the new visa requirements come into effect. For affected people who have made plans to travel to Ireland, and can show evidence of booking and paying for that travel, ISD will try to accommodate emergency travel for customers, in the following circumstances:

‘1. A critical medical case involving a family member being seriously ill or undergoing medical treatment.

  1. Visiting a significant family event – a birth, wedding or funeral.
  2. Taking up a place obtained in a third-level institution on an undergraduate or post graduate degree course.
  3. Taking up employment and holding an Employment Permit for Ireland.
  4. Travelling for business.’

Those attempting to be accommodated for emergency travel in any of the above circumstances must provide suitable evidence of same to ISD.

ISD has announced that if a person believes they fall into any of the above categories, and your scheduled arrival is on or before 7th April 2024, to email [email protected] with the subject line “Visa Imposition – Emergency Travel Required.”

This comes after the announcements that Convention Travel Document holders would now be visa required in July 2022, and that Bolivian nationals would be visa required in September 2023.

Ms McEntee also announced that the visa requirement for diplomatic passport holders of Indonesia, Qatar, Kuwait, Montenegro, Kuwait, Türkiye, Colombia, Peru and Georgia has now been lifted.

The requirement for a visa has also been listed for those accompanying a Minister of the Government of the above referenced countries on an official visit to the State, provided the person has an official passport, service passport or public affairs passport. The same policy applies for Irish diplomats travelling to these countries.

The Minister for Justice announced that this move would enhance the close ties in the political, economic and cultural spheres and continue to develop a close relationship with those countries.

The Minister for Justice stated that the Irish visa requirements are kept under constant review, having regard to the need to ensure that effective immigration controls are in place, whilst also facilitating those who wish to travel to Ireland for the purposes of a visit, to work, to study or to join family members.

The full notice can be found here.

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 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.

 

NEW VISA REQUIREMENTS ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONALS OF BOTSWANA AND SOUTH AFRICA

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……

NEW VISA REQUIREMENTS ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONALS OF BOTSWANA AND SOUTH AFRICA

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.

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT- REFUSAL OF TRAVEL VISA FOR EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDER

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT – REFUSAL OF TRAVEL VISA FOR EMPLOYMENT PERMIT HOLDER

Ms Justice Bolger of the High Court has recently delivered a judgement in the case of S v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 578.

 

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 to challenge the Minister’s decision, seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision. Ms Justice Bolger found for the applicant and granted the order quashing the decision.

 

The Minister refused the visa application on the basis that there was insufficient documentation submitted in support of the application. The Minister stated that there were inconsistencies and contradictions in the information supplied. Lastly, the Minister stated that the visa sought was for a specific purpose and duration, and the applicant had not satisfied the visa officer that such conditions would be observed. The Minister highlighted that the applicant had not provided sufficient evidence that they had the appropriate skills, knowledge, or experience for taking up the employment position in Ireland.

 

The appeal was also refused on the basis that the applicant had not addressed the refusal reasons listed in the refusal letter. The Minister relied on evidence from a telephone interview with the applicant in which he was asked what type of food he would be cooking, to which he replied, “Indian breads.” The applicant was then asked about cooking other dishes such as chicken tikka and he confirmed that this was not part of his job as a tandoori chef but that he had a basic knowledge of this type of cooking.

 

The Court found that the appeals decision did not state what documentation was missing from the applicant’s application, nor was missing documentation identified during the application or appeal process. The Minister’s deponent swore an affidavit in the proceedings which took issue with the applicant’s failure to submit a supplementary form that was required by the Minister. It was further highlighted that payslips, tax forms and evidence of experience or qualifications were missing, however this was raised for the first time after judicial review proceedings were initiated.

 

The Court found that it was unreasonable for the decision maker to dismiss the applicant’s two work references because of an absence of a website. The decision maker had claimed the lack of a website meant they were unable to check the references, when one written reference may have included a website and both references included mobile numbers which were not checked by the Minister.

 

Regarding the alleged inconsistencies in the application, the Court found that it was unclear from the appeal decision what these inconsistencies were. The decision maker had concluded based off the interview that the applicant could not provide detailed recipes for food which he would be required to cook in Ireland. The Court found that this was not a reasonable conclusion for the decision maker to reach, as the applicant’s work permit made it clear that his job was to make specialty tandoori bread, which the employer was satisfied the applicant had sufficient experience in. The applicant never claimed he would be required to cook chicken tikka or chicken dishes in Ireland and there was therefore no need to question him about his experience in this regard.

 

The Court found that a work permit does not constitute prima facie evidence that the applicant has the skills and experience required, to the point that the Minister for Justice cannot look behind the grant of the permit or require an applicant for a visa to show they are qualified to do the job for which they were granted the permit, in the assessment of the visa application to enter Ireland. However, the Court found that it also cannot simply be ignored.

 

The Court further found that there were no reasons or explanations given for the Minister’s decision that the applicant had not satisfied the visa officer that the conditions of the visa would be observed. The Court found that the reasons set out in the appeal decision were very brief. Ms Justice Bolger highlighted that the reasons set out in the decision fell well short of what is required.

 

This case raises the interesting 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 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 again subjected to a review by the Minister for Justice in their visa application.

 

It is the Minister for Justice who has responsibility for the issuance of visas and immigration permissions.  In our experience the Minister for Justice does not limit her assessment of the 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.

 

It is a very unfortunate and regrettable position for a person who has been successful in obtaining an employment permit to come and work in Ireland to then be refused entry to the State to take up that employment due to concerns raised by visa officers as to the applicant’s suitability for an employment position.

 

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.

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

RECENT HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT RELATING TO VISA REFUSAL FOR HUSBAND OF IRISH CITIZEN

Justice Phelan of the High Court has recently delivered judgement in the case of S.M and T.A v Minister for Justice [2022] IEHC 611

 

This case involved a long stay visa application made by the husband of an Irish citizen to join his wife in Ireland. The visa application was refused by the Minister and was also refused on appeal.

 

The couple challenged this refusal in the High Court by way of Judicial Review.

 

The couple were unsuccessful in their case before the High Court.

 

The visa application was refused for multiple reasons. The Court found that the Minister had failed in a number of respects in the assessment of the visa application.

 

The Irish Immigration Service Delivery consider visa applications in line with a Policy Document on Non, EEA family reunification, December 2016 (https://www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Policy-document-on-Non-EEA-family-reunification.pdf)  . Under the terms of this policy, Irish citizens are asked to have earned a certain income within the three  years prior to the visa application for their family member. In this case, the Irish citizen sponsor did meet this financial  criteria.

 

Despite this, the Minister found that granting the visa application would likely cost the Irish State money. It was found that the bank balance of the sponsor was low, and this caused this risk. The Court found there had been a lack of fair procedures in respect of the handling of  this aspect of the case. The Irish citizen sponsor in fact had savings but had not provided evidence of same as it was not obvious that they would be required when the financial criteria had been met.

 

The Court also found that the Minister had been incorrect in finding that there had been no explanation with regards to discrepancies on official documents and dates of registration on such documents. The applicant and sponsor had provided explanations. The court found that the correct approach of the Minister  should have been to acknowledge that an explanation had been provided, but could then have assessed if this explanation was to her  satisfaction or not.

 

It was brought to the Court’s attention by the applicants that a previous visa refusal has to be declared going forward and can have a negative impact on a person’s immigration history. The Court considered quashing the decision with this in mind, but ultimately held that there was no unreasonable prejudice to the applicants, as they could re-apply providing the documents that were found to be lacking and with new financial documentation. The Court found that this application would be made on better facts and did not believe there was an unreasonable prejudice to the applicant in having to declare a previous visa refusal.

 

The applicants also brought it to the Court’s attention that the Irish citizen sponsor was pregnant and also the security and safety circumstances in the home country of the sponsor had deteriorated. The Court found that this was not put to the Minister during the application  prior to a decision being made and therefore could not be properly found as a reason to find fault with the decision at this stage.

 

The Court ultimately held that due to the myriad of reasons the application for the visa had been refused, the deficiencies in the decision-making process as specifically  identified by the Court did not amount to the decision being unlawful.

 

The Court held that even if these matters had been handled in the proper way the visa application would still have been refused for other reasons, including a failure to provide specifically requested documents and the quality of some official documentation.

 

The Court stated that a fresh visa application to address these issues was a suitable way forward for the applicants.

 

This judgement highlights the importance of providing all requested documents in a visa application, following all ISD published guidelines in respect of documents and attestation of certificates and providing all relevant information in the visa application.

 

The Judgment also appears to  indicate that were an applicant meets the financial  criteria of the policy document, it would only be fair that an applicant be put on notice that the Minister intends to  refuse the application on those grounds to allow them to address these  concerns prior to decision being made.

 

The full judgment can be found here:

 

https://www.courts.ie/viewer/pdf/fa5fae37-2d5d-4ba3-bd24-ef1099537524/2022_IEHC_611.pdf/pdf#view=fitH

 

Berkeley Solicitors is highly specialised in preparing and submitting join family visas. Please do contact us if you need advice or assistance with such an application.

 

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 VISA REQUIREMENTS ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONALS OF BOTSWANA AND SOUTH AFRICA

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.