Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Justice and Equality
206. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons assessed under the scheme to regularise the status of students who overstayed on visas in each of the years 2005 to 2010; the number regularised under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53594/19]
The Special Scheme for Non EEA nationals who held a Student Permission in the State during the period 01 January 2005 to 31 December 2010 was launched on 15 October 2018 and closed on 20 January 2019. Approximately 3,116 applications were received under this Scheme.
To date, a decision has been made on 3,106 cases of which 2,253 have been granted.
The Deputy will appreciate that it is necessary to process these applications in full compliance with legal requirements and in accordance with the criteria of the Scheme. The remaining applications are being processed and decisions will be delivered as soon as possible.
207. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the legal advice he received as to whether a large-scale regularisation of undocumented persons here would be possible under EU law in view of the approximately 40 such regularisations which have occurred in the EU in the past 15 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53595/19]
While it would not be appropriate to comment on legal advice received, I can inform the Deputy that successive Governments have ruled out the possibility of amnesties or broad regularisation. This is in line with our political commitments at EU level. Ireland along with other Member States of the EU, has committed, under the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (2008), to a case-by-case approach as opposed to mass regularisation.
It is important to emphasise, that when it comes to people living here illegally, the only option for regularisation is on a case by case basis. Where people who have had an application for residence refused or who simply overstay their permission to reside in this country and do not apply for an extension to their permission, the State must be allowed to exercise its legal right to remove them from the State.
It would be unwise to permit people to simply ignore our immigration laws and allow them and their families to remain here merely on the basis of the length of time that they have resided here without permission.
In all cases, people must engage with the authorities if they wish to be permitted to remain here legally. I would encourage any person who is resident in the State without permission to contact my Department or their local immigration office and to take all appropriate steps to regularise their family's status.