Fianna Fáil proposes immigrant points scheme in new Bill

Justice spokesman Niall Collins says illegal immigrants can earn right to have status regularised

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman says  participants in the illegal immigrant scheme could accrue credits in a number of categories. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman says participants in the illegal immigrant scheme could accrue credits in a number of categories. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

A Bill to be published by Fianna Fáil proposes to give illegal immigrants an opportunity to acquire residency rights and have their status regularised.

It is estimated there are 25,000 to 30,000 illegal immigrants in Ireland, including people who have overstayed their entry visas or who were refused asylum status.

The Migrant Earned Regulation Bill, 2015 is the idea of Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins and shares some characteristics with legislation proposed by Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy in the US in 2005.

Mr Collins’s Bill proposes a scheme where illegal migrants can “earn” the right to have their status regularised.

It would allow participants to accrue credits in a number of categories including employment, USC contributions, income tax, evidence that a parent was caring for a child or dependent relative, educational qualifications and continuous residency.

Permission to stay

The scheme would be open to those living in the State for two years or more. Those who are accepted will have permission to stay for 12 months, and the scheme can be renewed each year for up to five years.

If the participant has accumulated the required number of credits when the scheme ends, they can they apply for long-term residency.

Mr Collins said: “The rationale of this is that it is the right thing to do. There are 25,000 to 30,000 people in Ireland who are undocumented. Do you ignore the problem or try to deal with the problem?”