The Government has approved publication of the General Scheme of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 which provides for a number of legislative changes across different policy areas.
The Bill proposes the reduction of the residency requirement for the naturalisation of children born in the State, to parents who are not Irish citizens, from 5 years to 3 years.
It proposes to amend the ‘continuous residency’ requirement to allow for total absences of up to 70 days from the State in the year preceding an application for citizenship. Up to a further 30 days may also be allowed where necessitated by exceptional circumstances.
In addition, the Bill outlines a new ground for refusal of permission to enter the State (leave to land). It proposes to add “the non-national’s entry into, or presence in, the State could be contrary to public policy” to section 4(3) of the 2004 Immigration Act as grounds for refusal.
For voluntary returns, people are currently given 5 days to confirm if they will voluntarily return under section 48(3) of the International Protection Act 2015. The bill proposes extending this to 30 days (a recommendation of the Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process).
Other changes provided for in the Bill include increasing the number of High Court judges by 5 and the introduction of new legal partnerships between barristers and solicitors.
A General Scheme of a Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill was first approved for drafting in January 2020.
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