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Call for new scheme to legalise undocumented migrants in Ireland

4,000 people have signed a petition for the introduction of an Earned Regularisation Scheme, which would allow undocumented migrants a new way to legalise their immigration status.

A supporters of the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign at a candlelit march, Dec 2011
A supporters of the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign at a candlelit march, Dec 2011
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE MIGRANT RIGHTS Centre will today present a giant scroll containing more than 4,000 signatures in support of a new scheme for undocumented migrants in Ireland to the Minister for Justice’s Special advisor.

Supporters are calling for the introduction of an Earned Regularisation Scheme, which would allow undocumented migrants an opportunity to legalise their immigration status.

Under the scheme, undocumented persons would would “earn” temporary or permanent residency rights under a specified time period. The scheme differs from the typical system of regularisation – which is based solely on a person’s employment status of length of time in the State – as it  requires an undocumented migrant to undertake a series of steps over time.

The model requires an undocumented person or family to register with the State authorities and pay a fine. Qualifying applicants would then be granted a probationary residency status and would earn points over a period of two to five years in order to secure permanent residency status. Such points would be earned through a range of steps, including engaging in employment, paying taxes, gaining proficiency in English and integrating in community life.

After the specified time period has elapsed, the authorities would then review the case and decide whether to grant permanent residency status or repatriate the person in question.

There are currently an estimated 30,000 undocumented migrants – including children and families – living in Ireland. The Migrant Rights Centre says that most of these individuals and families “have been in Ireland for several years working and paying taxes, and have become deeply rooted within Irish communities”.

“The Justice for the Undocumented campaign is calling on the Minister for Justice to introduce an Earned Regularisation scheme to respond to the men, women and children in this situation,” organisers said.

Later this morning, the Special Advisor to the Minister for Justice Equality and Defence and the head of policy at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service will receive more than 4,000 signatures in support of regularisation of undocumented migrants.

Read: Undocumented in Ireland will celebrate St Patrick’s Day ‘in the shadows’>

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