Thousands of ‘undocumented’ may be regularised under new scheme
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland says scheme will be ‘life-changing’ for those eligible
The new scheme will allow non-EEA nationals, who came to Ireland to study between January 2005 and December 2010, to apply for permission to remain in the State. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Thousands of “undocumented” people living in the State should be able regularise their position under a new scheme.
Sources said that up to 5,000 people could be affected by a scheme which the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said will be “life-changing” for those who can avail of it.
The scheme, announced by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, will affect “ a significant cohort of people” who have been in the State for a long number of years.
These people are part of the “undocumented” who live here and moved from a position of having permission to be in the State some years ago, to having fallen out of permission, the Minister said.
The scheme is directed at people who came here under a since-changed student visa scheme and follows a ruling by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
The court ruled in favour of two citizens of Mauritius, Daniye Luximon and Yaswin Balchand, and against the Minister for Justice.
The two Mauritians arrived legally in Ireland in 2006 under a 2001 scheme that allowed people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) come to Ireland to study and work part-time.
Mr Flanagan said the new scheme will allow non-EEA nationals who came to Ireland to study between January 2005 and December 2010, apply for permission to remain in the State.
In announcing the scheme he said he “expects that those who benefit from it are in turn going to benefit the economy”.
‘Good for families’
The MCRI said regularisation schemes are “good for families, good for the economy, and good for our economy as a whole. Giving undocumented workers a pathway to papers is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do”.
The organisation said the Minister had shown “strong political leadership” on the issue but expressed concern that the application period might be too short given the confidence needed for those affected to come forward.
It also expressed concern about the fees involved, which include the up-front payment of €700.
The scheme will be open for three months, from Monday October 15th, 2018 , for non-EEA nationals resident in the state who held a valid student permission between January 1st, 2005 and December 31st, 2010.
Permission to stay will be granted for an initial period of two years at the end of which qualifying persons must be able to demonstrate they are self-sufficient and not an unreasonable burden on the state.
While family reunification is not permitted, the family circumstances of persons present in the State will be taken into consideration, Mr Flanagan said.
Family members who have been residing in the State may be given permission to remain.
Full details are on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website www.inis.gov.ie.