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Huge rise in residency enquiries from migrant parents with Irish citizen children

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has released details of calls to its helpline for the first six months of the year.

File photo of 2010 protests against deportation
File photo of 2010 protests against deportation
Image: Photocall Ireland

NEW FIGURES HAVE revealed that the biggest issue for migrants in Ireland are residency rights for parents of Irish citizen children.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said that of the almost 5,000 calls it’s received to its helpline in the first six months of the year, 800 were about residency rights for parents. That’s compared with 286 calls on the same issue by the same time last year.

The ICI has received 4,675 enquiries from 137 different nationalities so far this year.

In March the European Court of Justice ruled that the parents of a child with EU citizenship have the right to live and work within the EU, irrespective of whether they are themselves a citizen of an EU country or not.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the ICI said that this ruling, called the Zambrano ruling, had an immediate impact on the council’s helpline service. She also said:

One interesting feature of our analysis around the helpline statistics is the higher than usual number of enquiries from people living outside Ireland. We received 325 queries from overseas callers this year, compared to 178 for the same period last year. Again, this increase is directly attributable to the Zambrano ruling.

Charlton said that there are a number of parents of Irish citizen children living outside Ireland, and that some of those are because of a deportation order. They are now seeking permission to join their families here.

The process for becoming an Irish citizen was also a common topic for callers to the helpline, while there were also hundreds of calls about renewal of status, work permits, visas and family reunification.

Charlton said that the issues are broadly consistent with trends in previous years, and that the idea that migrants are going home because of the recession is a “prevalent myth”. She said:

The evidence from our helpline statistics overwhelmingly shows that, rather than leaving the State, many are doing all in their power to remain here, to remain in employment and to continue to choose Ireland as their home.

More on the Zambrano ruling: Shatter announces immediate review of residency cases following ECJ ruling>

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Emer McLysaght

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