A “once-in-a-generation” scheme to offer undocumented migrants in Ireland the chance to regularise their status opens today.
This once-off scheme is designed to give long-term undocumented persons without a current permission to remain in Ireland the chance to regularise their status, access the labour market and begin their path to citizenship.
It’s believed up to 17,000 people in Ireland could benefit from the scheme, including thousands of children.
People with expired student permissions will also be able to apply while those with pending deportation orders will be eligible provided they have spent the required amount of time in the State without permission.
Individuals with an outstanding application for international protection who have been in the asylum process for a minimum of two years can also apply. This means that the scheme will also apply to people living in direct provision for two years or more.
In announcing the scheme last month, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said it would benefit people who “currently live in the shadows”.
“It will bring some much-needed certainty and peace of mind to thousands of people who are already living here and making a valuable contribution to our society and the economy, many of whom may be very vulnerable due to their current immigration circumstances,” she said.
The announcement of the scheme was warmly welcomed by advocacy groups in this area, and these groups have been inundated with requests for more information since the Government announcement.
John Lannon, from the charity Doras, told theearlier this month that the response to the announcement of the new Government scheme has been huge.
“We have had a lot of queries over the Christmas,” he said.
Mr Lannon said that as the scheme is only open for six months, it’ll be important to spread the word far and wide to ensure no one misses out.
The scheme was also warmly welcomed by those who will directly benefit from the scheme, many of whom have been living in Ireland for many years.
The Migrants Rights Centre Ireland said that there’s no limit on the number of people who can apply, and said there is no need to rush in completing the application.
The application fee for a single person is €550, and the application fee for family applications is €700. It must be paid in full when submitting an application.
A number of documents are required to be submitted alongside the application, and more information can be found here.