PRESS RELEASE: 24 August 2009
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) strongly criticises the decision by Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, TD, to impose new €500 fee on non-EEA immigrants registering as Long Term Residents in Ireland. In addition to paying taxes, non-EEA migrants already pay a number of fees to the government. They pay for work permits (€500 annually), for annual re-entry visas (€100) and for GNIB Registration Cards (€150).
“It is completely shameful and underhanded for Minister Ahern to introduce these new fees for migrant workers, many of whom are struggling to support themselves and their families at this moment,” said Bill Abom, Deputy Director of the MRCI. “The fee places an additional burden on migrant workers, who already pay their taxes and numerous other fees.”
Rajat Bhatnagar, a migrant worker from India and Board Member of the MRCI, received the letter regarding the €500 fee from the Department of Justice today. Mr. Bhatnagar says, “This is extortion. We pay our taxes and we pay huge fees for our work permits, Garda Registration Cards and entry visas. I think this fee is scandalous.”
According to Mr. Abom, “The MRCI spends a lot of time advocating with Department of Justice on behalf of non-EEA migrants who are at the receiving end of an inadequate service. It currently takes more than two years just to process a Long Term Residency application and now they want to tack on a €500 fee for this kind of service.”