Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
It is the responsibility of all non-EEA nationals who are resident in the State to ensure that they have an appropriate permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality. Individuals who do not have a permission to be in the State are liable to be subject to the deportation process as provided for in Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.
I am aware of proposals for schemes for undocumented migrants which have been in circulation and I would refer the Deputy to my reply below to Parliamentary Question 168 of 17 November 2011. The position is unchanged since then.
I am aware that there have been proposals of this nature and of course my Department will give due consideration to the issue. However great caution should be exercised before embarking on such a project. A proposal of this nature could give rise to very large, unpredictable and potentially very costly impacts across the full range of public and social services.
At EU level, the Member States, in agreeing the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum at the European Council in October 2008, made specific commitments "to use only case-by-case regularisation, rather than generalised regularisation, under national law, for humanitarian or economic reasons". While the Pact is not legally binding, the political commitment among the Member States, then and now, is clearly against any form of process that would in any way legitimise the status of those unlawfully present without first examining the merits of their individual case.
Any possible implication for the operation of the Common Travel Area would also have to be very carefully considered.