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Domestic violence survivor wins High Court immigration case

The woman had been married to an EU national, but left him after being subjected to serious abuse. She has now won her right to stay in the country.

CALLS FOR MORE transparency in Ireland’s immigration system have been made after a Pakistani victim of domestic violence won a five-year battle to remain in the State with her two children.

She achieved a settlement in the High Court with the support of the Immigrant Council of Ireland. The ICI said that such cases “highlight once again the difficulties caused because Ireland does not have a modern, transparent and fair immigration system with an independent appeals mechanism”.

The woman and her daughter, who arrived here in 2007, have been seeking permission to remain in Ireland with an infant son who was born here.

After being subject to serious abuse while married to an EU national, the woman left the relationship but had to go the High Court to prove that she was allowed to stay in the country.

At one point, she was issued with a deportation order, but this was removed.

Urgent need

The Immigrant Council has welcomed the settlement, saying it again highlights the urgent need for an immigration system which is modern, transparent and fair to all.

Senior solicitor with the council, Hilkka Becker, said:

Subjecting a victim of domestic violence, her daughter and infant son to a five year legal battle, including two High Court actions is cruel and unfair. It has been a long road for this small family as they attempted to negotiate bureaucracy and the courts.
Only the courage and determination of our client has ensured that justice has been done, not just for her but also for two young children. During much of the period the family lived uncertain of their status.

She said the woman and her children feared being prevented from rebuilding their lives by being refused the right to work and were denied basic State supports, including child benefit.

The settlement was successfully achieved after the High Court last year allowed for a Judicial Review to go ahead on the basis of undue delay and Ireland’s failure to meet international commitments.

Denise Charlton Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council added:

We are delighted for the family involved and glad to have been able to support their long battle for justice. I want to pay tribute to the solicitors of our Independent Law Centre for their work on this case.

The ICI said that such cases highlight once again the difficulties caused because Ireland does not have a modern, transparent and fair Immigration System with an independent appeals mechanism.

While improvements have been introduced to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the system, including victims of domestic violence, the need for whole scale reform has been highlighted in a string of recent court cases.

Becker told that the ICI has been campaigning for an independent appeals mechanism to be put in place, for more transparency, easier accessibility of guidelines and the protection of domestic violence victims.

She said that victims of domestic violence may not be aware of their rights regarding their immigration status, and such information needs to be clearly displayed on the Department of Justice website.

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