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Almost 5,000 undocumented given permission to remain under ‘once in generation’ scheme

The scheme was open to those who had spent at least four years in the State without immigration status

Almost 5,000 undocumented migrants and more than 3,000 asylum seekers have been granted permission to remain in the State so far under a scheme described as a “once in a generation” opportunity for those who were eligible.

The Department of Justice had received a total of 6,548 applications in respect of 8,311 people under the terms of the General Scheme for the Regularisation of Long Term Undocumented Migrants by the time it closed on July 31st of this year.

A further 3,193 applications were received under an International Protection strand of the scheme which closed on August 7th.

The undocumented migrants scheme was open to those who had spent at least four years in the State without immigration status, or three years in the case of those with children while asylum seekers who had spent at least two years awaiting a decision on their International Protection application were entitled to apply for Stamp 4 permission to live and work in Ireland under the International Protection strand.

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Responding to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly this week, Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said that as of Monday, 4,794 decisions had been issued in respect of undocumented migrants with 4,654 (97 per cent) granted leave to stay. Just 94 applications were declined while 46 were withdrawn.

In addition, 3,193 applications had been received under the International Protection strand with, the Minister said, 2,303 granted permission or “an equivalent permission” to say by the International protection office. A further 396 applications were ineligible and 260 applications withdrawn.

“This once in a generation scheme was designed to give long-term undocumented people without a current permission to remain in the State the chance to regularise their status, access the labour market and begin their path to citizenship,” said the Minister.

She said the processing of applications is continuing.

Figures previously released by the department to The Irish Times indicated that the highest number of applications under the undocumented element came from Brazilians, Pakistanis, Chinese nationals with more than 1,000 received from each group followed by Filipinos, Nigerians and, with roughly 250 each, Indians and Bangladeshis.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Industry and Employment Correspondent at The Irish Times