We contacted the Department of Justice and Equality recently in respect of a number of queries raised regarding entitlements to education support for non nationals resident on Stamp 4 Status.
Many persons residing in Ireland are eligible for an ‘Immigration Stamp 4’ which, according to the Minister’s Office, entitles the holder to work without need for an employment permit but does not confer an entitlement to any particular public service or funding as such matters are determined by the relevant government departments or State agencies. One of our clients has been granted a Stamp 4 for one year based on discretionary Humanitarian Leave to Remain. She is also the mother of an Irish citizen child and wants to apply for a Stamp 4 pursuant to Zambrano as the policy operating from the Department generally provides for a Stamp 4 for three years. She intends to enrol in a Third Level Education Scheme under which she will be eligible for free fees based on her current status in the State. However, the eligible categories of stamp holders entitled to avail of such a scheme do not yet specifically cover ‘Zambrano’ type Stamp 4 holders.
We contacted the State in an attempt to ascertain information on whether or not our client would be entitled to continue to be eligible to avail of free fees under Stamp 4 (Zambrano). The Minister advised that the Department has no function in matters relating to educational supports and that this issue will be a matter for the Department of Education and Skills.
We have however been informed that the Department of Justice and Equality has set up a dedicated email enquiry database under which education grant awarding bodies can submit queries in relation to the immigration status of their applicants. Such information is not entirely useful to our client but it would be worth contacting the Department of Education and Skills if you are concerned that your stamp might not entitle you to access educational support.
We believe that persons who have been granted permission to remain in Ireland to care and support their Irish citizen children, should not be treated any less favourably in terms of accessing services or public funding in respect of education, than those who have been granted permission to remain on humanitarian grounds. There is potential for great confusion as to the type of residency permission that is conferred on a person who is entitled to reside in the State pursuant to Zambrano, a decision that issued from the ECJ relying wholly on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.