Today (Friday 3rd Dec), Minister for Justice Helen McEntee officially announced a historic and life-changing scheme to regularise undocumented people in Ireland. This scheme, approved by cabinet (Tuesday 30th Nov), will open in the new year for six months.
Justice for Undocumented Group (JFU) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) have campaigned for over 11 years to regularise undocumented people, families and children.
Tjanasi Potso, Chairperson of JFU said, “I firstly want to commend the resilience, determination and daily courage of undocumented people who have fought so long and hard for this scheme, it will transform our lives. Make no mistake this was achieved because a small group of people took a big step to come forward and campaign for rights and recognition.”
She continued, “This scheme will allow us to live securely in our homes, no longer in fear that the next knock at the door will be someone to take us away. We can stand up for our rights at work, our children can grow up safely, and we can visit our families for the first time in many years. We are grateful to all the supporters and allies who have campaigned with us.”
The scheme allows people who have been living undocumented in Ireland for 4 years or more or 3 years or more with children here, to apply and regularise their immigration status. It also includes a separate track for International Protection applicants who are in the process for a minimum of 2 years.
Neil Bruton, Campaign Lead at MRCI, said, “We welcome the announcement today and commend the Government for following through on the commitments made in the Programme for Government last June. This is a huge step in realising the rights of undocumented people.”
He concluded, “We must ensure that all undocumented people know about the scheme and are supported to apply. Today does not solve everything. Some undocumented people are not included in the scheme. We look forward to working with the Minister for Justice to build on this progressive approach to immigration reform in the future.”
What we know so far
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has officially announced a historic and life-changing scheme to regularise undocumented people in Ireland. Applications for the scheme will open in January for six months.
Justice for Undocumented Group (JFU) and MRCI have campaigned for over 11 years to regularise undocumented people, families and children.
This is what we know about the scheme and the criteria:
- The scheme will be open for applications in January and it will stay open for 6 months
- You must have been undocumented for 4 years or more, or 3 years or more if you have children in Ireland
- People in the International Protection system who have been in the asylum process for a minimum of 2 years can apply
- Those with an existing Deportation Order can apply, if they meet the minimum undocumented residence requirement
- Those in the section 3 process can apply, if they meet the minimum undocumented residence requirement
- Applicants must meet standards regarding good character. Having convictions for minor offences will not, of itself, result in disqualification
- Successful applicants will receive an immigration permission, access to the labour market and can begin a path to citizenship
- The fee is €700 for families, it includes children up to 23 years old, living with their parent(s),
- The fee for individual applications is €550
- People in the International Protection system are exempt of paying any fees would be fee exempt.
You can see the Government’s Press Release here.