For the second time this week The Immigration Service Delivery have updated the FAQ document regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Immigration and International Protection – updated 28th of May 2020.
The key difference between this and the FAQ document published earlier this week relates to Citizenship applications (paragraphs 103 and 104 of the FAQ document).
The notice advices individuals planning to submit their applications for Irish citizenship to delay in submitting their applications until Phase 5 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (mid-August 2020). This is extremely disappointing for applicants who have accumulated the reckonable residency and who are now eligible to apply for Irish citizenship. We submit that it is not acceptable to expect qualifying applicants to delay in submitting their applications and that the Citizenship Division should continue to accept applications for processing.
Up until now the Citizenship Division had been accepting applications for processing but had directed applicants not to submit their original passports. This was an acceptable approach and allowed applicants to continue to submit their applications in order to take their place in the que.
Whilst we acknowledge that the Immigration Service Delivery has been restricted in its workings since the pandemic commenced, we submit that to ask people to postpone their citizenship applications is wholly unacceptable. Many offices and business have had to completely adapt and change their working format in light of the pandemic, under extremely difficult circumstances, and we fail to see why a well-established government department like the Citizenship Division cannot follow suit.
Moreover, it is clear that that the Citizenship division had been struggling with the volume of applications being submitted well before the COVID-19 pandemic and that further resources should be deployed to the Citizenship Division to ensure the efficient and timely processing of applications.
In response to a parliamentary question put forward by Social Democrats T.D Mr Cian O’Callaghan on the 20th of May 2020, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan admitted than 20 per cent (3,629) of the 17,954 citizenship applications currently being processed have been going through the system for longer than 24 months. This is not wholly unacceptable. There is absolutely no reason for such delays and its time that sufficient resources are deployed to the Citizenship Division to ensure that applications are processed within an acceptable time limit. We submit that by asking individuals to delay in submitting their applications, this will achieve nothing but further exacerbate the processing delays already being encountered.
The FAQ update also directs at paragraph 104 that where individuals have been asked to submit additional documentation in support of their citizenship application and where they are experiencing delays in obtaining the documentation, that they should request additional time from the citizenship division to comply with the request.
The full FAQ document can be found here –
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