In 2014 Ireland’s Ministry of Justice implemented restrictions on considerations of Irish visa applications for Libyan nationals. Libyan nationals seeking to come to Ireland were rejected based solely on their Libyan nationality, even when fitting the criteria to enter Ireland being from any other country. The restrictions were once again reviewed in 2017 and were defended by the Ministry of Justice and were left unchanged. Former Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald said she took into account the ‘ongoing security situation in Libya’ and this is true even today.
While certain restrictions on consideration of Irish visa applications have been in place since August of 2014 following a review the new Minister for Justice and Equality decided to extend the categories of applicants who can be considered. This is a massive victory for Libyan nationals and will greatly impact some of our clients here at Berkeley solicitors. The Minister for Justice and Equality has set out distinct categories which will be available for consideration. While there are 7 categories listed only 3 will be relevant to most of our clients here at Berkeley solicitors.
The first category allows individuals from Libya to enter the country if they are studying or training. Applications intended for all forms of study or training will be subject to consideration. The second category is regarding visa applications from immediate family members of those who are Irish citizens, long term Irish residents, and citizens of the EU. Under this category immediate family members consist of spouses or partners, parents and dependent children. The third and final category relating to our clients are visa applications supported by Irish Government Departments and State Agencies. These applications will be considered with evidence of sponsorship.
The change regarding Libyan visa applications has been met with positive feedback from many and has been highly praised for being a lot less discriminatory. Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan, stated ‘an appropriate balance must be struck between State security and individual applicants who wish to come here’ and with the blanket ban now lifted they may have found it. Applicants who wish to apply for a visa in Ireland in Libya have a specific set of instructions to follow in order to gain access to Ireland. There are important notes set out by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in order for the visa application to have a fair consideration. All of the information regarding Libyan visa applications can be accessed on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
Lifting the restrictions against Libyans entering Ireland allows for families to be reunited with loved ones and gives the people of both nations a choice.
We here at Berkeley solicitors welcome the change as we believe it restores rights under the European Convention of Human Rights and our own Constitution and is non-discriminatory.