Thursday, September 25, 2014

Recent Developments in Immigration

Updates from the Minister for Justice and Equality

On the 16th September 2014, Minister Fitzgerald announced new plans to increase the number of civilians carrying out key immigration functions in border management and registration roles. These jobs are currently within the purview of An Garda Siochana but as part of the Minister’s push to get more Gardai out on the streets, these roles are expected to be undertaken by an additional 80 civilian staff. The new programme will see civilians carrying out checks at both Dublin Airport terminals, as well as the transfer of the immigration permission registration function from An Garda Siochana to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and Equality (INIS). The Minister noted that the Gardai “will continue to provide core policing functions at the Airport and support the civilian staff as appropriate”. The full text of the Minister’s press release can be found at: <>

On the 2nd September 2014, the Minister announced major reforms of the student immigration and international education sector. This move comes in the wake of a number of private college closures this year. The reforms aim to protect the interests of genuine students, while reducing instances whereby the immigration system can be abused. A recent policy statement sets out three primary pillars of reform: only accredited programmes will be in a position to enrol international students, inspection will be increased to ensure education and immigration standards are maintained, and the non-EEA student work concession will be altered to mitigate abuse. In the course of her statement, Minister Fitzgerald also warned those students affected by college closures earlier in 2014 to regularise their status in the State and ensure they were abiding by current immigration laws. The full text of the Minister’s press release, along with links to the policy statement of the Task Force, can be found at: <>

Proposed reforms of Direct Provision Centres

Following increased media reportage into conditions in the State’s Direct Provision centres, in mid-August the Minister for Justice announced that a working group was to be established in the coming month to review the current system. The main issues outlined by the Minister include welfare payments, third-level education access, and support for children. Although Minister Fitzgerald has promised a more efficient application process would be in place by midway through 2015, she also ruled out the possibility of an absolute extension of the right to work to asylum seekers, citing the country’s unemployment issues as cause. While the establishment of a working group has been praised as a positive development by UN agencies, in more recent days that Minister has warned against “unrealistic expectations” in terms of reform. At present some 4,330 adults and children are being housed in Direct Provision centres around the country. Pressure is mounting on the Government to improve living standards, with recent weeks seeing asylum seekers protesting the system and calling for an end to Direct Provision entirely. Full articles on the above can be found at: The Irish Times “Government to review conditions for asylum seekers” 12th August 2014 <> The Irish Times “Minister warns against unrealistic expectations on direct provison” 25th September 2014 <> The Irish Times “Asylum seekers mount protest at Cork direct provision centre” 15th September 2014 <>

Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010
As part of her pledge to speed up the asylum process in the coming year, Minister Fitzgerald has committed to the introduction of a Single Procedure Mechanism, as distinct from the provisions of the currently dormant Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill. The Single Procedure Mechanism would allow claims for asylum and subsidiary protection to be made simultaneously. At present, claimants must first seek asylum, regardless of whether they meet the stringent criteria for refugee status. This procedure could theoretically save claimants years of waiting, and has been campaigned for by numerous organisations including the Irish Refugee Council and NASC. Publications and press releases on the above can be found at: “Press release: NASC welcomes renewed government commitment to reform of direct provision” 12 August 2014 <> “Roadmap for Asylum Reform” <

Brophy Solicitors

No comments:

Post a Comment