Up to £7,000 charged in UK for visas issued in Ireland

Surge in applications for UK citizens’ spouses coming from Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan

The Department of  of Justice and Equality said there was an “unprecedented” upsurge in EU treaty rights applications. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

The Department of of Justice and Equality said there was an “unprecedented” upsurge in EU treaty rights applications. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

Agencies in the UK are charging up to £7,000 to help people get their non-EU spouses into the UK using visas issued by Ireland.

The activities of the agencies come against a backdrop of an unprecedented surge in visa applications for UK citizens’ spouses who come from Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK is making it more difficult for such people to get visas.

One agency mentioned in a High Court ruling last week, Immigration Assistance Services (IAS), with an address in Rochdale, England, says it can guarantee to get spouses a visa using Ireland. It says that if there is any delay in Ireland issuing the visa, the service will go to the Irish High Court and get a judge to order the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) to accelerate the process. “We can legally compel the INIS to issue your decision directly.”

Decision

Department of Justice and Equality

The couple used IAS to file for the Irish visa for the woman who said she was a qualifying spouse under EU law for an EU national who was travelling to Ireland to work. The application was made in July 2015. The couple intend to ultimately live in the UK.

Charging

“We obtain a visa for your spouse in Ireland,” the IAS website says. “Once your spouse has their visa (usually within a month), we arrange employment and help you find accommodation, so everything is ready when you arrive in Ireland together. You and your spouse can enjoy your holiday in Ireland and return to the UK together legally.”

In its submissions to the High Court in the case last week, the department said it was concerned Ireland would act as a “magnet” for people not otherwise lawfully entitled to get into the UK, “a situation which may put the common travel area in jeopardy”.

It said there was an “unprecedented” upsurge in EU treaty rights applications, particularly involving family members of UK citizens coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.