Migrant group calls on Minister McEntee to reduce extortionate immigration fees in upcoming budget
Today (Monday 28th August), the Fair Fees Campaign Group has written to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee calling on her to reduce the extortionate immigration fees related to the Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card as part of the upcoming budget. With many anticipating measures in Budget 2024 to ease the burden of the cost-of-living crisis, migrants are calling on the Minister to look at IRP fees which are forcing them to make difficult choices and go without essentials.
The IRP card fee is €300. Most people living in Ireland from outside the EU are forced to pay this fee every year, some even more often. Last year alone (2022) the government collected €58 million from people paying IRP card fees .
The Department of Justice (DOJ) have so far claimed that the revenue from IRP card fees reflects the effort and cost involved in processing registrations. However, all the information available to MRCI appears to contradict this claim. The current €300 charge for an IRP card is 15 times more than the mere €20 it costs the state to issue a card . The fee is much higher than similar fees in other European countries*.
New information received by MRCI also appears to indicate that IRP card income subsidises the running of other services in the Department of Justice and other government departments.
Neil Bruton, Campaigns Coordinator said, “The income from IRP card fees is not ringfenced for immigration, in fact it goes into general DOJ spending . In 2021, when €35 million was generated from IRP cards, the DOJ ended up with a €21.7 million surplus which went back into the general exchequer . How can the Department continue to claim they need this money to cover their costs? We would welcome some transparency on this.”
Lijie Shao, spokesperson for the Fair Fees Campaign Group said, “We have no choice but to pay this fee. We are living and working here for many years, why are we being discriminated in this way and forced to pay extra during a cost-of-living crisis? We are calling on Minister McEntee and the Government to reduce this extortionate fee in the upcoming budget.”
The Fair Fees Campaign Group is calling on the Minister to reduce the fee to a level more in line with similar fees charged for other state registrations such as a passport (€75) or driver’s licence (€55).
Neil Bruton, Campaigns Coordinator concluded, “The IRP card fee is wildly disproportionate. It is way out of line with the cost to produce, way out of line with other state registrations and way out of line with the fees many other countries charge. The government cannot justify continuing to force migrants to make sacrifices in order to pay these extortionate fees.”
Notes to Editor
In total in the past 10 years the state has generated over €300 million (€312,417,602) from IRP cards fees alone yet it has cost just €21 million (€21,282,465) to produce and deliver these cards Parliamentary Questions No. 187 of 8th March 2023  Parliamentary Questions No. 187 and No. 273 of 8th and 30th March 2023  Parliamentary Questions No. 554 of 11th July 2023  Appropriation Accounts 2021, Pg 522
*Comparison with other countries
|Spain||€16.08 – €21.87|