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Plan to bring thousands out of ‘legal shadows’

23 Apr 2021 / justice Print

Plan to bring thousands out of ‘legal shadows’

A scheme being proposed by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee would regularise thousands of undocumented migrants living in Ireland.

The draft plans, which will be subject to a consultation process, are aimed at those who have been in the State for four years without a valid immigration permission. This would fall to three years for those with children.

Those eligible would be granted an immigration permission that allows for unrestricted access to the labour market. Their years of residence would then be counted when applying for citizenship through naturalisation.


"I firmly believe that we in Ireland must show the same generosity towards undocumented migrants living in our country as we ask other countries, particularly the United States,” said Minister McEntee, who said there were thousands of people across the country living in “legal shadows”.

The minister and the Minister of State for Law Reform, James Browne, will hold an information webinar with NGOs, employers’ organisations, trade unions and other groups on Monday, 26 April, on the proposals.

Six-month window

Stakeholders will also be able to provide more detailed, written submissions after the webinar.

Final approval from Government is expected in September, and the Department of Justice expects to be ready to accept applications for the scheme by the end of the year.

The scheme will operate on an administrative basis and is expected to be open for around six months for applications.

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