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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

Immigrant families will be ‘torn apart this Christmas’

The Immigrant Council of Ireland says that laws regarding family reunification will lead to heartache this Christmas.

Ireland recently welcomed some new citizens, but reuniting with families is proving to be a problem for some people.
Ireland recently welcomed some new citizens, but reuniting with families is proving to be a problem for some people.
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE IMMIGRANT COUNCIL of Ireland has said that a failure to introduce legislation will ruin Christmas for legal migrants in Ireland.

The council says that a failure to introduce rights for Irish citizens and migrants legally living here to be with their loved ones will leave many families “torn apart” this Christmas.

Ireland currently has, according to the Migrant Integration Policy Index, the worst family reunification policy in Europe or North America.

They say that they hope 2014 will see the introduction of legislation that will eliminate Ministerial discretion in applications for visas.

Senior Solicitor with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Hilkka Becker says:

““As we approach year end, we are encouraged by indications that the Government is planning to honour its commitment to act on an issue which is leaving people living in limbo.

“Reform needs to happen on several levels to make conditions for family reunification accessible and to ensure that decisions that interfere with the right to family life are foreseeable for applicants.”

Skype on Christmas Day

The immigrant council point to a case of a Chinese national forced to leave her son behind as proof that the system is in need of an overhaul.

Lucy came to Ireland to study over 10 years ago.

She met her husband and she gave birth to a baby son in Ireland six years ago. As they were both studying and working to support their studies, they asked her parents in China to look after their son for a short period when he was two.

Although they have now been granted a more permanent status, their son was refused a visa to return to Ireland.

Read: Ireland is failing to meet its international obligations on asylum seekers says the Irish Refugee Council

Read: “We’re not looking for a handout, we have to earn citizenship”

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