Ireland (13 January 2022) – Regularisation Scheme for Long Term Undocumented and Afghan Admission Programme


What is the change?

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD, announced on 3 December 2021 that the Government has approved a scheme to regularise thousands of undocumented migrants and their families who are living in Ireland. The scheme will open 31 January 2022. Separately, The Afghan Admission Programme has also been launched, which aims to enable successful applicant’s close family members to apply for temporary residence in Ireland.

Key points:

Regularisation Scheme for Long Term Undocumented Migrants

The scheme will enable eligible applicants (and eligible dependents where specific criteria is met) to remain and reside in the State and regularise their residency status. Applicants must have a period of 4 years undocumented residence in the State without an immigration permission, or 3 years in the case of those with minor children living with them on the date the Scheme opens. A spouse, civil partner, defacto partner or children aged 18-23 years who have been living with the principal applicant for 2 years immediately prior to the date the Scheme opens can be included in a family unit application. There are various other eligibility criteria, which an applicant must check before applying.

Fees vary from €700 for family unit applications to €550 for individual applications, and successful applicants will be required to pay a registration fee to register their permission when granted. Permissions will be valid for two years initially. Those who are eligible for the scheme will be granted an immigration permission that allows for unrestricted access to the labour market, and years of residence on said permission will be reckonable for citizenship by naturalisation.

Afghan Admission Programme

The Afghan Admission Programme enables current or former Afghan nationals living legally in Ireland to apply to have their close family members who are residing in Afghanistan, or have recently fled to neighbouring countries (Iran, Pakisatan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) to apply for temporary residence in Ireland.

500 places will be available on the Programme and will allow the applicant to nominate up to four family members to be considered for approval to join them in Ireland. If approved, a family member would qualify subject to the availability of places within the Programme.

The intended family members covered by the Scheme include: a spouse, civil partner, defacto partner, their minor children and adult children where they are unmarried and don’t have dependents. Applicants will also be allowed to nominate a grandparent, or a related minor child without parents (applicant must have parental responsibility), or a vulnerable close family member who does not have a spouse, partner or close relative to support them. Sponsoring applicants can also make an application on behalf of their minor siblings, or on behalf of the minor children of a proposed single adult beneficiary under the Programme. An explanation of the nature of the relationship between the sponsor and/or the proposed beneficiaries should be included in the narrative section of the form.

  • Implementation time frame:

The Regularisation Scheme for Long Term Undocumented Migrants will open for applications on 31 January 2022, and applications will be accepted until 31 July 2022.

The Afghan Admission Programme opened for applications from 16 December 2021, and will remain open until 11th March 2022. The programme was due to close at 5pm on 24th February 2022, but has been extended in order to facilitate applicants who wish to sponsor family members affected by the situation in Afghanistan to come to Ireland.

  • Who is affected:

The Regularisation Scheme for Long Term Undocumented Migrants affects those who do not have a current permission to reside in Ireland (for example: they arrived illegally; their permission has since expired or been withdrawn; expired student permissions; etc). International protection applicants who have an outstanding application and have been in the asylum process for a minimum of 2 years will have a separate application process.

The Afghan Admission Programme affects current or former Afghan nationals living legally in Ireland, and their eligible family members.

Analysis & Comments:

Deloitte welcomes both changes announced by the Department of Justice. The Regularisation Scheme for Long Term Undocumented allows such individuals to remain in Ireland and regularise their residency status. The Afghan Admission Programme is also a positive announcement for Afghan nationals in Ireland, particularly as this was developed as part of a national response to the evolving humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

If you have employees or potential new hires who may be impacted by the above changes, please contact the Deloitte immigration team to assist.

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