Nasc welcomes Regularisation Scheme
Nasc welcomes the Regularisation Scheme and Scheme for Persons in the International Protection Process
We are delighted to welcome the Minister for Justice’s announcement this morning of both the Regularisation Scheme for undocumented migrants and the implementation of the Catherine Day Report recommendation to provide a residency status to those two years or longer in the international protection process.
Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc comments, “Minister Helen McEntee’s announcement this morning will bring equal measures of joy and relief to individuals and families across Ireland who have been living in the shadows for years.
It is hard to overstate the challenges of being undocumented. We know that there is a greater likelihood of workplace exploitation and of poverty however there are also difficulties in accessing medical care, higher education or even reporting being the victim of a crime to An Garda Siochana. This scheme will have a transformative impact on the lives of undocumented families who will finally be able to take their full place in society.”
The decision to implement the recommendation in the Catherine Day Report to provide a residency status to people two years or more in the international protection system is a momentous one. Figures obtained from the Minister for Justice show that the Department has been unable to effectively deal with the unprecedented delays in the system - median waiting times for a first instance decision are currently at over two years.
Finn praises the Minister, “Nasc has been calling for this recommendation to be implemented since the report publication. This is the one issue that residents in direct provision keep raising when we speak with them – people want to be able to leave direct provision and begin their lives in the community. We are delighted that the Minister listened to the concerns of people in the direct provision as well as to organisations like Nasc who have been repeatedly calling for a scheme to be introduced as a matter of urgency.”
Finn continues, “Although these schemes won’t open until January 2022, we anticipate that we will get hundreds of queries over the coming days and weeks. We’ve already received a call from a woman in tears of relief at the prospect of being able to regularise her status and travel outside of Ireland to see her family for the first time in years. We know that there are thousands of others like her who had an impossible choice of not seeing their family again or risk leaving Ireland and not being able to return.
It’s very positive that the Minister is announcing this with a lead-in time of several weeks and that the schemes will remain open for six months. This will allow people to try and get their own documents together and get advice on how to make the application. We must also credit the Minister for Justice for ensuring that there is a built-in appeals process. This is something that is often overlooked and we are really pleased to see in place here.”
Nasc is aware that people are concerned about the requirement to produce a passport especially given that embassies and consulates across the world have been closed or operating at a reduced capacity over the pandemic.
Finn adds, “We are looking forward to seeing the detail of the Scheme published. We’d urge the Department of Justice to ensure that sufficient staffing resources are provided so that applications can be dealt with speedily and efficiently.”
Contact: Fiona Hurley,
Policy and Communications Manager
Tel: 087 104 3284