Regularisation scheme for long-term undocumented migrants opens
The regularisation scheme for long-term undocumented migrants has opened for applications from this morning.
Thousands of undocumented migrants and their families who are living in Ireland are expected to be eligible for the scheme, which began accepting online applications at 10am and will run for six months until 31 July 2022.
The scheme, announced last April, will enable applicants, and their eligible dependents where the specific criteria is met, to remain and reside in the State and to regularise their residency status.
Primary applicants who are eligible under the scheme will:
- Have a period of four years’ residence in the State without an immigration permission, or three years in the case of those with minor children, immediately prior to the date on which the scheme opens for applications;
- Be permitted to include a spouse, civil partner or de facto partner and eligible children aged 18-23 years who must have been living with the principal applicant for two years immediately prior to the date on which the Scheme opens for applications;
- Be granted a Stamp 4 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 Irish citizenship by way of naturalisation.
Those with an existing deportation order can apply, if they meet the minimum undocumented residence requirement.
Applicants must meet standards regarding good character and criminal record/behaviour and not pose a threat to the State. Having convictions for minor offences will not, by itself, result in disqualification.
People with expired student permissions will also be able to apply if they meet the minimum undocumented residence requirement.
Helen McEntee, the justice minister, welcomed the opening of the “once-in-a-generation” scheme, which she said creates a path to regularisation for “those who have been contributing to our society for years”.
“I firmly believe this scheme will improve the lives of thousands of people across the country who contribute to our society, enrich our culture and work in our economy but unfortunately still live in the legal shadows,” she said.
“People come to Ireland to make a better life for themselves and their families and they can find themselves undocumented for many reasons. This scheme will provide an opportunity for those who meet its criteria to remain and reside in the State and to become part of mainstream Irish society rather than living on its margins.”
A separate regularisation scheme is being introduced for asylum seekers who have been waiting more than two years to have their applications processed, with details to be confirmed by the International Protection Office (IPO) later.