Government can revoke immigration status of convicted individuals

Depending on the nature of the crime, residency permissions can be lost

Under the International Protection Act 2015, residency permissions can be revoked by the Minister for Justice when the holder is convicted of a crime. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Under the International Protection Act 2015, residency permissions can be revoked by the Minister for Justice when the holder is convicted of a crime. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

 

The Government can revoke the immigration status of people convicted of crimes. Depending on the status of the individual and the nature of the crime, the power to do so, and ultimately to deport, can be curtailed.

Hamid Sanambar, who was originally from Iran, was killed on Tuesday afternoon by three masked men outside the home of Sean Little, who was murdered last week. Mr Sanambar (42) came to Ireland as an asylum seeker and had been living in Ireland since he was in his 30s.

During this time, he was convicted for his role in a 2012 robbery of a brothel in which cash and goods to the value of €5,000 were stolen. Legal sources said under the International Protection Act 2015, residency permissions can be revoked by the Minister for Justice when the holder is convicted of a crime. Much of this is determined by the crime and the nature of the permission to stay in the state. Different permissions come with different rules.

Legal sources said someone living in the state with so-called “permission to remain” may lose that status for relatively minor crimes, if convicted.

People holding this status are told they are only allowed to remain if they obey the laws of the State, if they haven’t been convicted of an offence, or involved in criminal activity. They must register at their local immigration office and the permission is for a limited time.

One source said if someone is convicted of a crime who holds permission to remain , and the Department of Justice “gets wind of it”, they will face the cancellation of their permission. This can be appealed to the High Court if, for example, the punishment is disproportionate or if the individual has a spouse or children who are Irish citizens. If the appeal fails the individual can be deported.

A person generally must be convicted of a more serious crime to face the cancellation of refugee status. If it is cancelled, they are unlikely to be deported to a country where they will face execution, torture, or cruel or degrading treatment.

Instead, they will likely be allowed to remain in the State under stricter conditions. Similarly, there is a higher hurdle of criminality for those given what is called subsidiary protection status, which is a rung below refugee status, but is still given protection as they face serious harm if returned to their country of origin.