Press Centre

MRCI welcomes “long-awaited, life-changing” scheme and calls for “clarity, flexibility and common sense” from decision makers (15 October 2018)

Responding to today’s announcement of a new scheme to regularise undocumented people who came to Ireland as students between 2005 and 2010, MRCI Deputy Director Helen Lowry stated, “We welcome the announcement of this long-awaited scheme – it will be genuinely life-changing for those who qualify for it. Regularisation schemes are good for families, good for the economy and good for our society as a whole. Giving undocumented workers a pathway to papers is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do.”

Ms Lowry continued, “A lot now depends on the approach taken by immigration authorities. Our caseworkers are ready to help as many people as possible to apply, but it is imperative that decision makers handle all applications with flexibility and common sense. Some of the requirements are much too onerous and will exclude otherwise eligible applicants, instead of regularising people who have lived and worked in Ireland for many years. We are also deeply concerned about the high fees and the short application period. A fee of several hundred euro will be an insurmountable barrier for some eligible applicants – the Minister needs to reconsider this immediately. We also believe that an application period of just three months is too little time to build confidence in the scheme and ensure that everyone eligible for it has applied. The success of the scheme depends on earning the trust of all potential applicants.”

Priya, a member of MRCI campaign group Justice for the Undocumented who came to Ireland as a student in 2009 and has lived and worked in Dublin ever since, said, “As a campaigner, I’m proud of the work we’ve done to make this happen. And as a mother, I’m hopeful that this scheme will change my family’s lives. I am worried about the fees - my husband and I work full-time, but it will be very hard to come up with this money.”

Ms Lowry concluded, “This scheme will not cover every undocumented person in Ireland – there are people living and working here for a very long time who will not be eligible – but it is a long-awaited step in the right direction, and the Minister has shown strong political leadership on this. Undocumented adults and children are part of every community in Ireland, and we’ll continue to work for a pathway to papers for everyone.”

ENDS

CONTACT

Aoife Murphy, MRCI Communications communications@mrci.ie

NOTES

Details of the scheme are available at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR18000323 and http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/special-scheme-for-non-eea-nationals-who-held-a-student-permission-in-the-state-during-the-period-1-january-2005-to-31-december-2010