On the 6th of March the Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with the Minister for Justice and Equality publicised the abolition of the old Dependant Spouse Employment permit procedure. It was announced that Spouses and De-Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders (CSEP) and Non-EEA Researchers on Hosting Agreements could now access the labour market without having to apply for an employment permit.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service today announced details of a new Preclearance scheme for Defacto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders (CSEP) and Defacto Partners of Non-EEA Researchers on Hosting Agreements.

The scheme applies to both visa and non-visa required nationals.

Both categories must now apply for preclearance from the INIS before they travel to the country to join their qualifying partner for a period of longer than 90 days.

Applicants must be resident outside of the State at the time of their application and must remain outside of the State for the duration of its processing. Entry to the State will not be granted without the Preclearance Letter.

In order to qualify for the pre-entry clearance, Applicants must be in a loving durable relationship and have resided with their Defacto partner who is the holder of a CSEP or Hosting Agreement for a minimum of two years prior to the application.

They must also be in a position to provide a police clearance certificate for any country in which they have lived for the previous five years and have private health insurance in place on both arrival to the country and for the full duration of the residency. Travel insurance may be acceptable for the first year as long as it provides full cover in the interim period of arranging private medical insurance.

Visa required nationals must wait to receive the Preclearance Letter of Approval before applying for a visa to enter the country and must submit this approval letter with the visa application.

The exception to this is countries where biometric information is required as part of the visa process – China, Pakistan, Nigeria and India. Nationals of these countries must submit the visa applications at the same time as applying for Pre-Entry clearance and provide their biometric data simultaneously.

Non-visa required nationals intending to register as the Defacto Partnersof a CSEP holder or Hosting Agreement Researcher must be in receipt of the Preclearance Letter of Approval prior to entering the State. The letter must be presented to the Immigration Officer on arrival.

A non-refundable application fee of €100 is charged by the INIS.

Successful applicants will be granted permission to reside in the State pursuant to a Stamp 1G which will expire at the same time as the permission to remain granted to the principal employment permit holder (or previous qualifying employment permit holder now resident on a Stamp 4 permission to remain).

Minor children under the age of 18, or up to the age of 23 if in full time education can be included in the application.

Once issued, the Preclearance Letter of Approval is valid for six months only. If it is not used within six months, then a new application must be submitted.

Applications which are refused can be appealed within 6 weeks of the date of the refusal.

The Immigration team at Sinnott Solicitors are specialists in all aspects of immigration law. If you have any queries on the new Pre-Clearance Scheme or any matters raised in this article, do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Department today on 0035314062862 or info@sinnott.ie.