Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
159. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the service offered by company (details supplied) which is purportedly charging for free immigration service appointments and requesting the provision of highly sensitive data; the steps that are being taken to ensure timely access to appointments for applicants not availing of this service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59514/21]
My Department is aware that there have been issues in the past around the securing of registration appointments and has continually introduced software fixes designed to improve 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.
A new Immigration Service appointment and scheduling system, which will streamline and further improve the registration process, is currently being developed and is expected to be available to customers shortly.
Staff in the Registration Office have been working extra hours, including at weekends, to meet the demand for first-time registrations, renewal of permissions, and re-entry visas for minors. The public office in Burgh Quay is now open from 08:00 to 20:30 to provide assistance to customers wishing to register.
Currently, public health guidance determines the number of appointments that safely be facilitated each day in the public office. Almost 1,000 customers are being registered every week. Our staff continue to engage with stakeholders to understand how their needs can best be met. Since the introduction of a new online system for the renewal of permissions for Dublin-based customers in July 2020, over 98,000 applications have been processed.