The Department of Justice has announced that the Criminal Justice (Smuggling of Persons) Bill has completed all stages in the Oireachtas and will be signed into law shortly.
The new legislation strengthens laws against people smuggling. It covers a broad range of scenarios including intentionally assisting entry, transit, or presence where the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that it is in breach of specified immigration law provisions. While the existing offence is limited to facilitating entry into the State, the revised offence covers smuggling into other countries, including EU Member States and parties to the UN Protocol against people smuggling.
The Department of Justice states that “a full defence is in place to protect those acting for genuine humanitarian purposes and not for gain, or on behalf of bona fide humanitarian organisations.”
The legislation replaces most aspects of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000 and reflects the provisions of the EU Council Directive 2002/90/EC defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence; EU Framework Decision 2002/946/JHA on the strengthening of the penal framework to prevent the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence; and the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000).
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