Recent policy developments
- The Irish Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling from July 2019 that applicants for Irish citizenship must have “unbroken” residence in Ireland in the year before they apply. The Court of Appeal found that the High Court erred in how it interpreted a requirement for “continuous residence” in the State in the year prior to an application for naturalisation.
- The Department of Justice and Equality launched Refugee Community Sponsorship Ireland. Community Sponsorship Ireland was established on a pilot basis in 2018 as an alternative resettlement stream to the traditional state-centred model of resettlement. This programme provides the opportunity for private citizens and community-based groups to directly support a refugee family.
- Amendments to the Atypical Working Scheme applicable to Locum Doctors were announced. These amendments, announced by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister for Health, are designed to support the recruitment and retention of non-EEA locum doctors to work within the Primary Care Services across the country, particularly within the General Practitioner Out of Hours Services.
- The Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Committee on Justice and Equality launched a report on direct provision and the international protection application. The report concludes that the system needs root and branch reform or, preferably, replacement.
- The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced changes to the Employment Permits system for workers from outside the European Economic Area. Changes are to address immediate labour shortages in key sectors such as hospitality, construction, health and road haulage. All chef grades are now eligible for an employment permit and all nurses can now qualify for a Critical Skills Employment Permit.
- The Department of Justice and Equality committed to a new Refugee Protection Programme. Ireland will welcome up to 2,900 refugees between 2020 and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.
- The Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, delivered Ireland’s National Statement to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Minister also announced that Professor Caroline Fennell of University College Cork, and current Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, will chair a newly-established Anti-Racism Committee. This Committee forms part of the Government’s commitment to strengthening its approach to combating racism.
- The Department of Justice and Equality announced the establishment of an Expert Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process (Asylum Seekers) , chaired by Dr Catherine Day, former Secretary General of the European Commission. The expert group will report by end of 2020. Dr Day will be joined on the Group by Dr Frances Ruane, Mr Frank Daly, Mr Conn Murray, Ms Niamh O’Donoghue and representatives from NGOs working in this area – Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre; and the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI).
- Ireland welcomed 50 Syrian refugees, resettled to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).