In order to provide clarification, it is firstly necessary to understand what exactly each permission entails:
Stamp 0 residence permission was implemented by INIS in December 2011. The procedure implement the stamp was vague, and unfortunately not much clarification has since followed.
What do we know?
According to the INIS website guidelines, Stamp 0 is ‘a low level immigration permission that allows a person to remain lawfully in Ireland for a specific temporary and limited purpose. It is not intended to be a pathway to any more permanent form if immigration’.
This appears to imply that stamp 0 does not provide reckonable residency required for naturalisation. However, on the contrary, it has been confirmed to us by the Department previously that the stamp does indeed count for reckonable residency. We are currently seeking clarification from the Department on this point.
There is no specific application process but rather the applicant will seek permission in the normal way.
It is noted a service provider, or academic, or an individual in exception humanitarian circumstances are examples of those who may avail of this permission.
Holder of the permission may not work or engage in a trade, business or profession, unless specified in INIS letter.
It is further noted that the stamp is provided on the basis that the holder receives no State beneifts, and that they are self sufficient through personal resources of financial support from an employer or family while present in the State.
As with all Immigration permissions, breaching a condition of the permission may result in a permission being revoked or not being renewed.
A holder of stamp 3 per mission is entitled to remain in Ireland on the basis that they do not enter employment, nor engage in any business or profession and do not remain later than the specified date.
Main categories of those who are granted this permission include: non EEA visitors, non EEA retired person of independent means, non EEA Minister of Religion and member of religious order, non EEA spouse/dependent of employment permit holder.
Stamp 3 permission is reckonable, and thus after 5 years a holder is eligible to apply for naturalisation. 5 years of stamp 3 permission also entitled one to apply Stamp 3 Long Term Residency, which is valid for a further 5 years.
It is submitted that the vital differences in these permissions is that Stamp 0 does not provide for a more permanent form of residency and it not reckonable.
In consideration of the above information, in what regard has there been confusion in relation to these permissions?
Firstly, as regards clients who have been granted Stamp 0, the renewal process in certain cases, where there has been no change regarding the conditions at the time of granting of the permission, has been met with some difficulty, with the Department providing new application numbers, inferring it is indeed a new application, rather than a more straightforward renewal process.
Secondly, we have seen stamp 0 issued to many non EEA retired nationals of independent financial means, and non EEA dependents on employment permit holders in that state. This seems contrary to the INIS guidelines which explicitly state such persons are eligible for stamp 3 permission. Additionally, people who have been granted stamp 3 person on such basis have prior to the impending renewal of the permission been notified that their status will change to being that of stamp 0. We find it confusing that the decision has been taken to make such amendments, when there has not been any significant change in the circumstances of such persons. There is much confusion as to whether this new permission is applicable regarding reckonable residency. As noted above, we are seeking clarification on this point, and will post on this matter once we have received an adequate explanation.
We urge that greater clarification for this change in permission be provided. The guideline note appears to provide information contrary to that which has been stated by the Department. We further stress the need for a more straightforward stamp 0 renewals process, as the current manner with which it is being dealt with cannot be deemed as an efficient nor effective system.