On the 6th of January 2014 The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, published new policy guidelines for dealing with family reunification applications in the Immigrat ion system. The guidelines are intended to provide for greater transparency in the immigration decision making process and also to set out in detail the reasoning behind the policies.

The Minister said “The purpose of this document is to set out a comprehensive statement of Irish national immigration policy in the area of family reunification. More comprehensive and transparent guidelines are necessary to assist applicants and decision makers in this area. It is important that those contemplating applying to come to Ireland for the purposes of family reunification do so under clearly stated guidelines.”

The guideline s do not create new rights of family reunification, it is more a question of providing greater detail on how the Minister’s discretion is intended to be applied. The new policies will start to inform decision making from the beginning of 2014 although the various administrative changes and recommendations set out in the document will take longer to roll out. These include a new pre-clearance process for those who are not visa required.

The Minister went on to say “Family reunification must be seen in a wider context of public policy. The State must strike the correct balance between the understandable aspiration of people to come here to join their families and the economic and social interests of the State in general. The guidelines set out in this document will provide for greater trans parency and consistency in this area.”