The recently published Justice Plan 2021 and a wider three-year Department of Justice Statement of Strategy, 2021-2023 contain five goals. One of these is the “delivery of a fair immigration system for a digital age”. A total of 43 direct actions fall under this goal for 2021.
According to the Statement of Strategy, the Department of Justice plans to: develop a fully digital, customer-centric immigration service; protect the fairness and enhance the efficiency of the immigration system; restructure immigration services; ensure that effective controls are exercised at borders; and eliminate processing backlogs across all immigration application types.
According to the Justice Plan 2021, in Q1 2021 the Department plans to: publish a roadmap for the transition of all immigration services to online application processes; complete an end-to-end process review of the international protection process; reduce the waiting period for access to the labour market from 9 months to 6 months; and publish a new website for immigration services in Ireland, amongst other items.
In Q2 2021, the Department of Justice plans to: expand the online appointment system to include the scheduling of interviews at the International Protection Office; conduct a review of legislation associated with the Common European Asylum System; and review the policy of holding immigration detainees in prisons.
In Q3 2021, the Department of Justice plans to: launch a scheme for the regularisation of undocumented migrants; and ensure that the website on immigration services is available in the five most common languages used by customers.
In Q4 2021, the Department of Justice plans to: complete the implementation of all other Justice-related recommendations included in the Catherine Day Advisory Group report as appropriate; begin accepting applications under the new regularisation scheme; finalise and publish a roadmap for the transfer of all immigration functions from the Garda National Immigration Bureau to the Department of Justice; and reduce case processing times across all areas, with a particular focus on applications for citizenship, international protection and EU Treaty Rights.
The Department has outlined that Justice Plan 2021 will be the first in a series of annual justice plans.