PRESS RELEASE: 22 August 2008
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) strongly criticizes the imposition of a 50% increase in the levy on non-EU immigrants registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), only two years after the levy was introduced. A new fee of €150 (previously €100) will be charged to migrants coming from outside the European Union/European Economic Area to register with the GNIB, with effect from 23rd August.
In addition to paying taxes, non-EU migrants pay a number of fees to the government. They pay for work permits (€500 annually), for annual re-entry visas (€100) and for the GNIB card in question (€100). Non-EU students also contribute millions each year to third level institutions in tuition fees. MRCI estimates that the €50 increase could generate an additional five to ten million Euro from non-EU migrants.
“It is completely unacceptable and unjust to generate revenue on the back on non-EU workers and students, many of whom are struggling to support themselves and their families,” said Jacqueline Healy, Deputy Director of the MRCI. “The existing fee is high, and places an additional burden on migrant workers, who already pay their taxes and numerous other fees. Just a few weeks after the immigration system was shown to have major flaws, Minister Ahern is responding with an increase in fees on immigrants. The MRCI calls on the Minister to justify this increase.”
According to Ms. Healy, “The MRCI spends a lot of time advocating with the GNIB on behalf of non-EU migrants who are at the receiving end of an inadequate service. If this new increase in fees meant an increase in efficiency and quality of service, as well as aligning the duration of the registration with the duration of the permit, this would be a different matter.”