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Citizenship is top issue on Immigrant Council helpline

The council is calling for a reform of the application system for people who wish to become Irish citizens.

THE IMMIGRANT COUNCIL of Ireland has called for reform of the application process for Irish citizenship as it released its helpline’s preliminary figures for 2012.

Queries relating to becoming an Irish citizen topped the list of issues covered by the helpline which received over 5,000 phone queries last year.

People from 145 countries contacted the helpline in 2012 and over 64,000 visits were recorded to the Immigrant Council’s website, with new visitors accounting for two thirds of hits.

In addition to questions on citizenship, other top issues included work permits, residency rights and queries on becoming an international student in Ireland.

Commenting today, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland Denise Charlton said the figures underline the “urgent need the introduction of a modern, efficient and transparent system” for people who wish to become Irish citizens.

“The over reliance on discretionary decisions with a lack of clear guidelines and an independent appeals process is causing great concern for people who are already contributing to Ireland,” she said. “We should seek to harness such diverse talents and allow all citizens play a meaningful role in our economic recovery.”

In February of this year the ICI will host a major conference on family reunification with participation by the European Commission and the government.

“2013 is the European Year of Citizens and the Immigrant Council welcomes the commitments of the government to continue with immigration reform,” Charlton said.

“If we are genuine in marking this special year we must work towards providing safety, security and stability to all those who are committed to Ireland.”

Read: Price hike for immigration fee criticised>

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