Wednesday, 27 February 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, Deputy Stanton, to the House. I seek an extension of the current regulation around stamp 2 and stamp 4. I know someone who came to Ireland as a student in 2003 on the stamp 2 programme. The person went to college to follow courses in hotel management and business studies and has studied various other courses since. The person has been working on stamp 2 for the last number of years and applied for a visa to remain in the State. A programme for people like this was introduced in 2018 but it was from 2005 onwards and, having come to the State in 2003, the person did not qualify. The person's skills are not on the critical skills visa permit list and so the person is not eligible under that scheme either. While the relevant stamp 2 permission was extended in March 2018 for 18 months, the person has been in Ireland for 15 years and contributed to society, including through taxes. The person to whom I refer is very involved in voluntary organisations and has contributed to the community. Notwithstanding the charitable deeds performed, the person is being told that once the 18 months are up, there will be a requirement to leave Ireland. I ask for a review of the case or an extension of the programme for stamp 2 holders back to 2003. A few people are affected and they have played their part in Ireland.We have accepted their taxes for more than 15 years. They paid to come here to be educated here. They have worked their way through it, yet we are telling them that in six months they will have to leave Ireland. It is very worrying for them because they have established themselves here as a member of society and played a fine role in their commitment, not only to the people they work with but also to the community. A review or an extension of the programme back as far as 2003 would be greatly welcomed.