Immigrant Council welcomes new scheme to regularise undocumented migrants
The Immigrant Council today applauds Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s announcement of a new draft scheme to regularise undocumented migrants in Ireland. The scheme is a vital action coming out of the Department of Justice’s 2021 Action Plan addressing many issues affecting migrants, notably the thousands of undocumented migrants living in Ireland today.
The scheme is proposed to be open for applications by the end of 2021 to undocumented migrants fitting the following criteria:
- Have a period of 4 years residence in the State without an immigration permission, or 3 years in the case of those with children;
- Be granted an immigration permission that allows for unrestricted access to the labour market; and
- Have years of residence with that permission reckonable for the purposes of pursuing citizenship by way of naturalisation
The Immigrant Council welcomes the announcement, citing the many inquiries received by our Helpline and Independent Law Centre each year from undocumented migrants facing immigration issues and desperately seeking advice on regularising the immigration status not only of themselves, but also for their family members living in Ireland. In many cases we hear from undocumented parents of children born in the State unable to access public services including essential healthcare services.
In addition to lack of proper healthcare, undocumented migrants are often living in situations of extreme vulnerability including exploitation by employers, or being the victims of crime but fearful of seeking help from the authorities for fear of being deported.
The Immigrant Council will be participating in the Government’s upcoming consultations around the regularisation scheme to ensure the inclusion of proper considerations for these vulnerable groups. We will be urging the Department of Justice to make the scheme as accessible and open as possible, including revising the proposed timeframe for eligibility of applicants to avoid exclusion of numerous undocumented migrants.
In the coming months the Immigrant Council will be lobbying for these changes to be incorporated into the final version of the scheme expected later in 2021.
We look forward to these groups achieving immigration statuses granting access to the labour market and pathways to citizenship.