Regularisation Scheme for Undocumented Migrants

In April 2021 the Minister for Justice outlined the draft scheme to regularise undocumented migrants. This is the first scheme of its kind, and is a welcome development in this area of law and practice. Previously, the Department of Justice introduced a regularisation scheme for certain persons who held a student permission before January 2011, which resulted in thousands of eligible persons receiving a Stamp 4 permission.

However, this new scheme announced by the Minister will have a much wider scope than the special student scheme. The new scheme is intended to allowed undocumented migrants to come forward and apply to have a permission to remain in Ireland, and thus regularise themselves. Introducing the draft criteria, the Minister said:

“There are thousands of people across the country who have created a life here but unfortunately still live in the legal shadows. They are active members of our communities: contributing to our society, enriching our culture and working in our economy.

“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, to show Irish people who have built a life elsewhere but who are still undocumented in their new homes.”

The draft criteria of the scheme outline that the envisaged eligible persons would:

  • have a period of 4 years residence in the State without an immigration permission, or 3 years in the case of those with children
  • be granted an immigration permission that allows for unrestricted access to the labour market
  • have years of residence with that permission reckonable for the purposes of pursuing citizenship by way of naturalisation

The above criteria are only in draft form, and the Minister launched a consultation process for many organisations and stakeholders to submit observations and comments on the proposed draft criteria. It is likely that the draft criteria will change, and we will keep on top of the latest developments in respect of this scheme and advise our client’s accordingly with their best interests at heart.

While the regularisation scheme is a great development, we have been successful in multiple cases this year in making applications for permission to remain/change of status based on the Minister’s executive discretion outside of any specific scheme, and also by making representations against deportation under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.

Persons who wish to regularise themselves in the State should be fully advised on their position and all available options to them. If you wish to regularise your status, please get in contact and we will tailor our advice to your specific circumstances in order to make you fully informed of all the possible options which may be open to you.