We recently posted about a family residing in Saudi Arabia who was granted permission to enter and reside in the State on the basis of their Irish Citizen Child. On appeal of their first application which was refused for a number of reasons, we challenged the deciding officer for failing to consider the rights of the European Citizen Child in line with the judgement in Zambrano. Ultimately the family was granted D Type visas to enter the State. Upon their arrival, immigration officials at Dublin Airport provided the family which consists of a mother, father and three young children with a one month permission to remain. The family was directed to register their status with the Minister for Justice and Equality and this was done almost immediately through our office.
The family have commenced life in their new home. They found accommodation and the children have been enrolled for the 2012/2013 school year. The father, who is highly qualified in his chosen field, has been provided with the opportunity to work. He is unable to do so at present without providing evidence of a Stamp 4. He is also aware of the fact that the delay in the determination of so called ‘Zambrano’ type cases is considerable.
We understand that there are two systems in place regarding D Type Visas – i.e. the pre-clearance visa is granted which is followed by the requirement of registering your permission to remain in the State by obtaining the appropriate Stamp on one’s passport and a ‘GNIB card.’ We informed the State that we are aware of two cases based on ‘Zambrano’ pending for over 12 months from this office alone. The INIS website states that ‘legally resident non EEA nationals who have entered the State with the intention of residing for more than three months must register with their local immigration registration officers.’ It seems that our clients, like many others such applicants, are subject to further examination after having been granted a long –stay visa. They have been requested to make an application to the Zambrano Team in the Department of Justice and Equality which could take up to a year or more to decide. Again, they must submit all of the documentation already forwarded to visa officials twice. We were also advised that a temporary Stamp 4 while their application is pending is out of the question.
The INIS website also provides that ‘the onus is on all Non EEA nationals to keep their residency up to date at all times while they are in the State.’ It is infuriating that our clients and similar families would leave their homes and jobs to relocate to Ireland. They make preparations to continue family life in Ireland based on having obtained long-stay visas to enter the State only to find that in fact they cannot avail of employment and are liable to become undocumented for a long period of time. The State advised us that unfortunately it is the case that a person’s permission might expire during the determination of an application for residency but nothing can be done about this. We believe that this is a very serious problem. It is unfair that a country would facilitate a person with a long- stay visa to enter the State only to allow that person to endure a painstaking wait to actually register permission to remain.
If the State continues to operate in this manner, it should at least allow for temporary permission to issue to those who are lawfully resident in the State and risk becoming undocumented while the Minister decides their application. The UK Home Office have operated such a system for all Zambrano applicants since the judgement itself was delivered.
We would ask the Minister what is the point of carrying our a full assessment of the Irish citizen child’s rights of residence from outside the State, when on arrival, the full assessment must be carried out again? If the family visa are granted to enter the State, why are the child’s parents, granted a temporary permission to stay as visitors for one month only, when the residence application may take over one year to determine? How is this family supposed to support the child in the intervening period? Without lawful permission to reside, applicants become vulnerable, restricted in their proper enjoyment of family life and risk huge financial problems. Zambrano cases are child focused but yet the Department of Justice’s policy is wholly adverse to the best interest of that child.