IRELAND – Regularization scheme recommended for undocumented migrants

A report concluded that Ireland should introduce a system allowing undocumented migrants currently in the country to come forward, pay a fee and regularize their status. Because it found the situation to be urgent, it recommended an administrative system rather than a legislatively created regularization program.

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IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? A report on the Immigration, Asylum and the Refugee Crisis has been presented to the Dáil Éireann (the lower and principal house of Parliament), recommending a general regularization scheme for undocumented migrants. However, the minister for state with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration, David Stanton, along with the minister for justice and equality, Charlie Flanagan, have decided against endorsing the report.

What does the change mean? The scheme means that authorities will likely take a case-by-case approach, rather than institute a general regularization program, and will focus primarily on undocumented migrants who originally entered Ireland lawfully but fell out of status due to such instances as changed immigration policies or inability to return to their home country.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. An implementation schedule has not been set.
  • Visas/permits affected: Expired immigration and work permissions; regularization of status.
  • Who is affected: Undocumented migrants in Ireland.
  • Business impact: A regularization scheme would give undocumented migrants authorization to work and access to the labor market.

Background: The report, which was presented by Stanton, was conducted in February by a parliamentary joint committee on Justice and Equality and addresses numerous issues surrounding asylees and refugees, particularly those resulting from the Mediterranean crisis. It concluded that Ireland should introduce a system allowing undocumented migrants currently in the country to come forward, pay a fee and regularize their status. Because it found the situation to be urgent, it recommended an administrative system rather than a legislatively created regularization program.

BAL Analysis: The recommendation indicates that the Department of Justice and Equality is working on a program that may allow undocumented immigrants in Ireland—primarily those who arrived in legal status but have become undocumented due to unforeseen circumstances—to become legal residents. This may affect employment permit holders, and their dependents whose work permissions have expired and who have overstayed their immigration permission expiration dates.  

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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