The Minister for Justice and Equality has the power to issue a deportation order against any non EEA national who is in the State without lawful permission of the Minister, pursuant to Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.
We have frequently assisted clients with the Section 3 process and also been engaged in High Court litigation to prevent removal of non-EEA nationals.
Persons who are undocumented may be issued with a letter confirming the Minister’s intention to issue a deportation order against them. This is known as the “Section 3 letter” and it provides the non national with 3 options and a deadline of 15 days within which to respond. The options are as follows;
- Consent to a Deportation Order
- Leave the State voluntarily within a certain period
- Submit a Humanitarian Leave to Remain application
In choosing option 1 a Deportation order will be made against the notified person. Where a person opts to leave the State voluntarily they will engage with the Voluntary Returns Unit to facilitate leaving the State and once confirmation is received that the notified person has left the State, the Section 3 case will be closed and no Deportation Order will issue.
Applicants also have the option to make submissions to the Minister as to why a Deportation Order should not be issued against them. This is known as a Humanitarian Leave to Remain Application. The Minister is obliged to consider several elements to a person’s case and assess the rights they possess under the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. Such applications require a full and thorough examination by the Minister and can therefore take a long time to be determined. Applicants will not receive any temporary permission to reside during the processing period. The Minister will assess all applications fully and will make a determination as to whether of not to issue a deportation order. Provided the application for humanitarian leave to remain has been fully and lawfully considered the deportation order against the notified person will be lawful and can then be effected to deport the applicant from the State.
It is of the utmost importance to respond to the notice within the specified time frame, if the notified person does not respond or does not engage with this process, then a lawful deportation order may be issued by the Minister.
A person issued with a valid deportation order may be directed by an immigration officer to attend their local immigration office at specified times. It is a criminal offence to contravene the provisions of a Deportation Order, and in this circumstance a person may become liable for arrest and detention for the purposes of deportation.
In some circumstances, the holder of a deportation order may have reason to apply to the Minister to have the deportation order revoked. Holders of a deportation order therefore have a right to apply to the Minister under Section 3 (11) of the Immigration Act 1999. In practice, it is generally required that new information is submitted that was not available or considered at the time of issuing the initial deportation order.
We assist clients in respect of the Section 3 and deportation procedure, and in making applications to revoke deportation orders.