The Immigration Team at Sinnott Solicitors have been engaging with the Department of Justice with respect to the Scheme to Regularise Undocumented Immigrants in recent months and attended a further consultation meeting with the Department of Justice and other Stakeholders on the 23rd of July 2021 regarding same.
The meeting was hosted by the Department of Justice in order to update applicants and interested parties with the latest developments regarding the implementation of the scheme.
The Minster of State for Law Reform, Youth, Justice & Immigration, Mr James Brown TD, hosted the meeting. He confirmed that submissions which had been made to the Department as part of the Consultation Process have been carefully examined and the Department is currently working to finalise the details of the Scheme, including eligibility considerations and qualifying criteria with a view to bringing final proposals to Government in September.
Mr Brown confirmed that successful applicants will receive an immigration permission which will allow access to the Labour Market and will be counted towards reckonable residency for the purpose of applying for Irish Citizenship in the future.
In total, 39 submissions were received by the Department of Justice from various parties such as immigration solicitors like Sinnott Solicitors, NGO’s, civil society organisations and other Stakeholders. It was confirmed that all of these submissions are currently being examined with a view to developing the final terms. Once the Department of Justice have finalised the proposed terms, it is hoped that these proposals will be submitted to the Government in September, who will then make a final decision with respect to the terms of the Scheme and sign off on same.
It was confirmed that the scheme is intended to cover those who have been living for a long time in Ireland in an undocumented status and that approximately 17,000 non-EEA nationals are likely to qualify for the scheme.
The Department of Justice confirmed that they received submissions and suggestions to include potential applicants such as those with live deportation orders, persons in the Section 3 process, International Protection applicants, stateless persons, persons whose permission to reside in Ireland has been revoked amongst others and are looking at all suggestions in this regard currently.
Other matters which are also under consideration are the number of years of undocumented residence spent residing in the State, the residency permission/stamp which will be awarded, application fees, definition of criminality, and the issue of eligible dependants.
Whilst it has been confirmed that access to the labour market will be granted and persons will be eligible to apply for Citizenship in the long term, it has yet to be decided what form of immigration stamp/permission will be awarded to successful applicants.
The Department of Justice officials reiterated a number of times that the final terms of the Scheme, including who will be eligible to apply, will be the final decision of the Government and that they hope to submit the final proposals to the Government on same in September.
Once the Government has signed off on the terms, it is intended that the Scheme to Regularise the Status of Undocumented Migrants will open by the end of 2021 and will remain open for a period of 6 months thereafter.
The application process will be an online procedure where applicants will upload and submit their documentation to the Immigration Service Delivery Immigration Portal and pay the application fee online. Assurances have been given by the Department that this process will be made as straightforward and user friendly as possible for applicants. Sinnott Solicitors have concerns that not all applicants who may qualify for the scheme will be computer literate and may struggle with the online application process. However, as always, in all Irish immigration matters, our expert team of immigration solicitors and immigration consultants based at our Dublin and Cork offices will be available to submit and assist with applications for any persons seeking assistance once the scheme opens at the end of the year.
It was confirmed that Garda vetting would be completed as part of the application process and each application will be assessed on its own individual merits. Where multiple family members are applying as part of one application, each individual will receive their own letter of approval or refusal as appropriate. Children will also receive approval letters but will not be required to register the permission with their local immigration office until they are aged 16 years of age.
An appeals process will be implemented to afford applicants who have been refused the opportunity to appeal however details of this have yet to be finalised.
Sinnott Solicitors Analysis
The Immigration team at Sinnott Solicitors greatly welcomes the scheme to regularise undocumented immigrants living in the Republic of Ireland. It is a fantastic initiative and needless to say, will be life changing for the thousands of eligible applicants.
As part of the submissions which our immigration team submitted to the Department of Justice on the proposed terms, we emphasised that applicant eligibility should be as broad and fair as possible to include the many different forms of undocumented migrant statuses which arise in the State. We hope that the Government will take on board all of these recommendations to ensure that the scheme is fair and equitable and affords as many undocumented migrants as possible the opportunity to regularise their status in the State.
As highlighted in previous articles, which are available to read here and here we caution that all undocumented migrants who are considering to submit an application to regularise their status under the scheme, should ensure that any advice they receive is from reputable sources such as registered solicitors like Sinnott Solicitors, Non-Governmental Organisations and charities assisting with immigration matters and not to approach or pay any unregulated immigration consultant’s in relation this matter. We have received numerous reports from clients already of unregulated and unqualified immigration consultants advertising the scheme, which is most concerning in circumstances where the Department of Justice have yet to finalise the conditions of the scheme or the government sign off on same. As above highlighted, it will be at least September until this happens.
Sinnott Solicitors have a specialist team of Immigration Solicitors and Immigration Consultants located in our Dublin and Cork offices who are experts on all Irish immigration matters. Should you have any queries with respect to any of the information contained in this article or any other immigration matters, do not hesitate to contact our immigration department in Cork or Dublin today on 014062862 or email@example.com.