29th June 2017
Today (29th June 2017) the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality launched their report on Immigration, Asylum and the Refugee Crisis - a focus of their work in 2016.
Representatives from the Justice for the Undocumented (JFU) group and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) today welcomed in particular the recommendation to introduce a regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants in Ireland.
Priya, JFU spokesperson said “Over six months ago, we presented to the Justice Committee where I shared my personal testimony as an undocumented working mother. Today we are so happy with this recommendation from the Committee; it’s a really important development for undocumented migrants in Ireland. It tells us we are being listened to and that our contributions are valued”.
Speaking on behalf of MRCI, Helen Lowry commended the Justice Committee on their work and the publication of this important report. She said “we particularly welcome the clear intention this Committee and its Chairperson have given to working to fully implement all 5 recommendations including introducing a regularisation scheme”. She went on to say “there is no opposition to this solution, there is cross party support, now it requires urgent action from the Government”.
Rebecca, 13 years undocumented in Ireland and founder member of JFU said “the recommendation from the Committee is clear and simple. The new Minister for Justice, Minister Charlie Flanagan, has an opportunity to show leadership by introducing a scheme that will transform my life and the lives of people we represent”.
Notes to the editor
Full Report on Immigration, Asylum and the Refugee Crisis
Text of recommendation
- The Committee calls on the Minister for Justice and Equality to introduce a time-bound scheme, with transparent criteria, to regularise the position of undocumented migrants in Ireland. Such a scheme would give undocumented migrants a window of opportunity to come forward, pay a fee and regularise their situation. Given the urgency of addressing this situation, the scheme should be introduced, initially at least, on an administrative basis rather than through legislation. Applications should be administered on a case-by-case basis.
There are many potential benefits to such a scheme, allowing individuals, many of whom are already in employment and have a long-term connection to the State, to regularise their situation, pay taxes, and make a positive contribution to Irish society generally at a time when the country is returning to steady growth in employment opportunities and net immigration.
MRCI Research on Undocumented Migrants
Research carried out by the MRCI and JFU revealed that 1 in 5 undocumented migrants have lived in Ireland for more than 10 years, 89% are employed and 1 in 3 have been in the same job for more than 5 years. The regularisation proposal is endorsed by employer groups, trade unions, political parties and rights organisations.