Thursday, October 16, 2014

DELAYS IN DECISION-MAKING IN IMMIGRATION CASES

We were recently instructed by a very vulnerable single mother with significant mental health difficulties. She had previously been granted stamp 4 permission to remain in the State and we were instructed to assist with an application for renewal of that permission pursuant to section 47 of the Immigration Act 2004.

At the time we put in the application we had not yet received a medical report or medical records to substantiate our client’s significant mental health difficulties. Rather we submitted the application on a provisional basis relying on personal statements from the applicant and her daughter substantiating the difficulties she had had with serious mental illness and detailing the difficulties that she would face should she be expected to return to her country of origin. We had prepared detailed submissions to send to the Department setting out our arguments with respect of the mental health position and we were awaiting a medical report from our client’s psychiatrist before submitting these further submissions.
To our surprise and to our client’s enormous relief, before we had even received the medical report and records and finalised our further submissions, our client was granted an extension of her leave until 2017. Our client is extremely happy to have had her application determined so quickly. In fact our original letter was dated the 10th of September 2014 and a positive decision was received 15 days later.
This is obviously a very positive development for our client especially given her vulnerability however it shows the considerable inconsistency in the timeframes within which applications are being dealt with by the Department.
While working on this case, we have also been in correspondence with the Department in relation to a case where the applicant has had an application for leave to remain pending since February 2009. We are now at the point of issuing High Court proceedings to compel the Department to make a decision. It is a little confusing that that type of application must wait five years to be determined while a renewal application can take just 15 days even when in the latter, all the information has not yet been provided to the Department.
We hope that the decision making process will become consistent and streamlined and more efficient in coming months. At present, it is unpredictable and difficult for applicants some of whom wait extremely long periods for a decision on vital matters such as their ability to remain lawfully in the State
Rebecca Keatinge
Brophy Solicitors

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