Monday, December 19, 2011

The Minister's reliance on blanket policies to refuse visa/residence applications

We are working on a number of cases where the Visa Office has relied on  a “General Policy” to refuse our clients' family members a right of entry and residence to the State. The policy has been described to one of our clients as follows;

“It is not the general policy of the Department of Justice and Law Reform to allow extended family members to automatically migrate on a long term basis to Ireland”

Thus, a blanket policy appears to be in place to the effect that a very large number of potential applicants could be refused.  However, this policy was not made available to the public domain.

We raise the questions of who constitutes an extended family member as per this general policy? Why is applied in some cases and not others? In respect of whom can an exception be made?

It appears to us to be very unsatisfactory that the Minister is relying on policies which are not made public, to make decision effecting fundamental rights in respect of family life.

We draw attention to the obligation on the Minister to make available to the public all policies he will seek to rely on. Under Section 16(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 the Minister is required to prepare and publish ‘rules, procedures, practices, guidelines and interpretations used by that body … for the purposes of decisions’ and section 16(5) requires them to be made available to the public

It has been emphasised by both Irish and UK courts, the importance of making State policies available to the applicants. Furthermore, the superior courts have refused to uphold a decision whereby reliance was made on a blanket policy without full reliance on the applicant’s individual circumstances. Of useful reference are Ezenwaka and Anon v MJELR [2011] and of the UK Superior Courts, Quila and Bibi v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011].

We are concerned at the appearance of such a blanket policy and await the Minister’s response to our query.

Brophy Solicitors.



    disturbing reports recently of an Irish
    family who have been refused visas for
    their orphaned nieces, because the Irish
    Embassy and DOJ said they must formally
    adopt them first.

    Many children are rared by family members
    who are not parents, for many reasons,
    such as Grandparents and in this case it
    would be uncle and aunts,

    There is no prerequisite of adoption, only
    that the guardians have permission from the
    parents, or in this case the orphanage.
    The adoption process can take place later,
    if they wish. its not an immediate issue.

    Now the Irish Embassy is saying, Irish
    citizens wishing to get a visa for
    their nieces, must first formally adopt them.
    This is nonsense.

    If they had been nieces of EU citizens,
    under Irish Law SI 656 of 2006, they
    would be classed "permitted family members"
    And visas must be issued by law. No adoption process must be completed first.

    Remember Enda Kenny, saying what a
    disgrace the Catholic Church was for
    not putting the welfare and caring of
    Children first.

    Here Enda Kenny is leaving 2 kids in an orphanage, when their uncle and aunt want
    them home for Christmas.

    Shame on all so called public servants involved.

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