Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Immigration Support Services

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin Bay South, Sinn Fein)
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416. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) will be granted an appointment at the INIS office on Burgh Quay in order to present their new passport. [49279/21]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the person concerned has obtained a registration appointment via the Registration Appointment Booking System. They should attend as scheduled and present their new passport to facilitate their registration.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility, inisoireachtasmail@justice.ie, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin Bay South, Sinn Fein)
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417. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the actions her Department is taking against persons using bots to block book INIS appointments at the Burgh Quay office (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49280/21]

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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428. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the steps taken to date to eliminate the practice of the appropriation by third parties of immigration appointments at Burgh Quay on the INIS website in order to offer those appointments for sale to persons seeking appointments; the analysis undertaken by her Department to establish the extent of the issue; the number of appointments sold to persons seeking appointments in each of the years 2016 to 2020 and to date in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49345/21]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 417 and 428 together.

My Department is aware that there have been issues in the past around the securing of registration appointments and has continually introduce software fixes designed to prevent such abuses of the system. These new measures have been partly successful in preventing the block booking of appointments by third party agents.

However, some third party agents continue to provide appointment booking services in return for payment on the basis that the person provides them with their personal details in advance. My Department strongly advises against this practice of providing sensitive and personal data to unregulated and unknown third parties.

Customers should continue to apply directly for appointments as they become available without charge, through the online appointments system: burghquayregistrationoffice.inis.gov.ie.

I can assure the Deputy that my Department is continually working to establish methods to mitigate against this unregulated practice. A tender has been awarded for a new Immigration Service appointment and scheduling system, which will streamline and further improve the registration process. The new system is expected to be available to customers in November 2021.

Figures are not maintained by my Department on the number of appointments affected by the booking of appointments by third party agents; however, my Department makes every effort to accommodate those impacted.

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