New scheme to regularise long-term undocumented migrants will open in January 2022

06 Dec 2021

The Department of Justice has announced a new scheme to regularise long-term undocumented migrants and their families living in Ireland.

Applicants must have a period of four years undocumented residence in the State, or three years in the case of those with children, to be eligible.

Successful applicants will be granted an immigrant permission allowing for unrestricted access to the labour market. Years of residence with that permission will be reckonable for the purposes of pursuing citizenship by way of naturalisation.

People with expired student permissions will be able to apply. People with an existing Deportation Order can also apply, if they meet the minimum undocumented residence requirement.

Applicants must meet standards regarding good character and criminal record/behaviour, but having convictions for minor offences will not, of itself, result in disqualification. As the scheme is largely aimed at those who may be economically and socially marginalised as a result of their undocumented status, there will be no requirement for applicants to demonstrate that they would not be a financial burden on the State.

The scheme will include a parallel process to implement the recommendation included in the report of the Expert Advisory Group, led by Dr Catherine Day, by allowing international protection applicants who have an outstanding application for international protection and have been in the asylum process for a minimum of two years to apply.

Exact figures are unclear, but studies suggest that there could be up to 17,000 undocumented persons including up to 3,000 children in Ireland.

The scheme will open for applications in January 2022 and will be open for a six-month window. A fee of €700 will generally apply to family unit applications and a fee of €550 will apply to individuals’ applications. The International Protection specific-strand would be fee-exempt at both application stage and at registration.

For more information, see:

Department of Justice press release

Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process