THE PROPOSED GOVERNMENT SCHEME FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: UPDATED PROGRESS
Juliet George of the Immigration and International Law team provides a brief update in relation to further updates on the regularisation of undocumented migrants.
The Minister of State with responsibility for law reform James Brown held a discussion with relevant stakeholders to include Refugee Council and Immigration Lawyers on Friday the 23rd of July to provide a briefing on the current details of the draft scheme. He reiterated the commitment of the government to creating new pathways for long -term undocumented people and their dependents, meeting specified criteria to regularise their status within 18 months of the formation of the Government bearing in mind EU and Common Travel Area commitments.
The Government has consulted with relevant stakeholders such as Immigrant Council and Law Firms and engaging with government departments. The Minister notes have received 39 written submissions in respect of the prospective outline approach including our own submission which can be read here.
Areas being given consideration from the submissions received are:
How long-term undocumented should be defined in terms of residence requirements;
The Permission to be awarded
How to ensure eligible persons are aware of the scheme
What would assist eligible persons to make applications
How the online application process can be simple and accessible for applicants
How could organisations help to promote the scheme and support applicants
A number of suggestions have been received by key stakeholders.
There have been suggestions from most of the stakeholders that scope of the scheme would be broad enough so as to include those:
Who have Deportation Orders (Dos)
Who are in Section 3 process, that is, notified of intent to issue a Deportation Order
Who have applied for International Protection and Appellants
Who are Stateless or had permissions revoked or due to expire soon
Who were in the Dublin III process and subsequently became undocumented
There were suggestions that “Dependents” include:
Spouses, civil partners and de-facto partners
Children up to and including those 23 years of age
That children in care of the State and in other care arrangement s can apply in their own right
Residency Requirement and Criteria:
To allow mix of documented and undocumented residency years to be counted;
To reduce required residency period to 2 years
Not to require a continuous period of 4 years
To allow person qualify where they would reach the residency requirements within the 6 month timeframe that the scheme is open for applications
The type of stamp to be awarded, some sought specific stamp eg Stamp 4
Stamp in own rights for dependents
Clarity that criminality criterion for refusal relates only to serious offences
Mode of Application and Fees
Calls for an affordable level of fee
Seeking single flat fee for both single and family applications
Promotion and Application Process
Use range of media, including in particular social media
Information and guides in number of languages
Promote through multiple local services in the community#
Lots of ideas on forms of documentation for proof of ID and proof of residency
Next Steps to be Taken:
Policy and Eligibility Criteria
These are still in progress and are to be further developed
Application and Processing systems to be put in place
Finalise policy proposals for Government consideration by end of September 2021
Launch call for applications before end of 2021
Application for the Scheme – To be dealt with by Domestic Residence and Permissions Division (DRP) with support from multiple functions across ISD
Cross-functional Project Group and sub-groups focused on systems design and development; communications; human resources;
Full engagement with Ministerial Office and Department Management Board;
As this work is still in progress, full requirements of the process are not yet fully defined. The Department continues to work to finalise the details, including eligibility considerations and qualifying criteria. We are informed that the scheme is on track to be brought before Cabinet for approval and it is their intention is to keep the scheme as straightforward and simple for applicants as possible.
The main goal of the proposed scheme would give migrants who have been here and working unrestricted access to the labour market.
We at KOD Lyons have once again called for the scheme to be as wide as possible. We look forward to seeing the final terms of the scheme and to supporting clients when the final terms of the scheme are announced. We would urge prospective applicants to be extremely careful in noting that the final terms of the scheme have yet to be announced.
We would of course note that any undocumented migrants who are looking for assistance in making an application under the scheme must be careful to ensure they are being advised by professionals for reputable organisations including solicitors registered with the Law Society of Ireland who act in immigration matters, NGOs and charities with a track record in immigration work. We would recommend that unregulated immigration consultants be avoided at all costs.
If you require assistance or have a query in relation to whether you might be included in the new scheme do not hesitate to contact Juliet George, Stephen Kirwan or any other member of the Immigration and International Law team either by phone or by email.