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December 22, 2021 – Further Automatic Extension for Residence Permissions in Ireland & Visa Update

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change?

  1. The Irish government have announced that foreign nationals with valid immigration permission, which expires between 15 January 2022 and 31 May 2022 will be granted an automatic extension until 31 May 2022.
  2. South African and Botswana & Lesotho nationals no longer require an entry visa.

Key points:

  • Implementation time frame:
  1. This change is set to take effect immediately. Burgh Quay will remain open for first time registrations only.
  2. Nationals from South Africa and Botswana & Lesotho will no longer need an entry visa form midnight on 21 December 2021
  • Who is affected:
  1. All foreign nationals residing in Ireland with valid immigration permission (based on employment, studies, dependant family, tourism etc) due to expire between 15 January 2022 and 31 May 2022 are now provided an automatic extension until 31 May 2022. Additionally any permission which was renewed by the previous automatic extensions are also automatically renewed by this notice until 31 May 2022.
  2. Nationals from South Africa and Botswana & Lesotho
  • Next steps:
  1. Employers should update their employees with upcoming Irish Residence Permit expiries. Individuals located in Dublin who need to renew their IRP permission can still do so using the online renewal platform. Regional registration offices (outside Dublin) remain open, subject to COVID-19 restriction; meaning that individuals residing outside of Dublin may still be able to register and renew their permission at their local Garda station.
  2. Employers seeking to hire foreign nationals from South Africa and Botswana & Lesotho should note that only an employment permit is now required for them to enter Ireland.

Analysis & Comments:

The Irish government has made this decision as part of the response to COVID-19, in-line with recent restrictions.

In Ireland, all non-EEA nationals must apply for an employment permit to work. For certain nationalities, individuals must then apply for an entry visa to enter Ireland to commence work. Once in Ireland, all non-EEA nationals must apply for an Irish Residence Permit to register their permission and reside. This Irish Residence Permit is to be renewed in Ireland when appropriate by the non-EEA national.

This automatic extension comes after the previous eight extensions that were implemented first, on 20 March 2020; second, on 13 May 2020; third, on 16 July 2020; fourth, on 20 August 2020; fifth, on 18 September 2020; sixth on 23 December 2020; seventh 21 April 2021; and eighth on 15 September 2021. Any permission that was renewed by these previous notices is automatically renewed by this notice until 31 May 2022.

This measure has been introduced to allow foreign nationals additional time to renew their permissions prior to 31 May 2022. This ensures that employees retain their permission under the same conditions during this time. It is important to note that foreign nationals will not receive an updated permission as part of this announcement. If they wish to travel before renewing their residency permission, we advise contacting our Deloitte immigration team in advance of departing Ireland.

All renewals in the Dublin area are now being processed online only. This system has been available since 20 July 2020 and continues to operate.

Note that the exemption allowing foreign nationals to travel on expired IRP permission is still only in place until the 15th January.

South African and Botswana & Lesotho nationals became visa required on the 29th November 2021. As of the 22nd of December, they are no longer considered visa required, however, they still must comply with COVID 19 protocols for entry into Ireland.

If you have employees or potential new hires who may be impacted by the above changes, please contact the Deloitte immigration team to assist. We continue to update our FAQ for employers found here.

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