Written answers

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Immigration Controls

9:00 pm

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Question 580: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has identified evidence of marriages here whose purpose appears to be to circumvent Irish immigration laws; the number of such marriages in recent years; the trends involving particular nationalities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1291/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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Marriages of convenience for the purpose of circumventing normal immigration controls are experienced not just here in Ireland, but by immigration jurisdictions worldwide. The contracting of marriages in order to gain an immigration advantage represents a significant challenge to immigration authorities. This has been clearly recognised in international instruments such as the "European Union Directive No. 2004/58 on the Rights of Citizens of the Union and their Family Members to Move and Reside Freely within the European Union", which identifies marriages of convenience as an abuse of the rights contained in that Directive.

Marriages of convenience are of their very nature difficult to detect. Final determination as to the validity of marriage based claims in this area can only be made after an in depth examination of the particular circumstances of each individual case. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform has growing experience of marriages being entered into for the sole purpose of enabling the foreign national spouse to enter and/or remain in the State. The fact that, in many cases where a suspicion arises as to the bona fides of the marriage, the foreign national may in fact be unlawfully in the State or residing in the State on the basis of a temporary or limited permission is a significant factor in this regard.

While it is not possible to provide definitive statistics on the number of bogus marriages/marriages of convenience, information available suggests that there are significant numbers of cases where such an inference can be drawn. With regard to applications for residence on foot of marriage to a Union citizen approximately 30% of those cases involved persons who were illegally present in the State or on a temporary or limited permissions thereby giving rise to a suspicion that the marriage is one of convenience for the purpose of circumventing immigration controls. Further indicators of a problem are to be found in highly unusual patterns of marriages and intelligence in relation to inducements being offered in certain European Union Member States for their nationals to marry third country nationals.

The Deputy may also wish to note that, with regard to applications for residence on the sole basis of marriage to Irish nationals, 49 applications were refused in 2009 on the basis that the Spouse of Irish National Section in my Department were satisfied that the applicants did not meet the terms of the scheme covering residence on foot of marriage to an Irish Citizen.

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Question 581: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of non EU nationals who have applied in each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 for residence here by virtue of being married to a non Irish EU citizen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1311/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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The statistics requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table.

YearApplications received on basis of marriage to an EU National
20061207
20071928
20081798
20092116

It is not possible to specify the number of applications on the basis of marriage to a non Irish EU citizen from the figures available for the years 2004 and 2005.

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