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Undocumented migrants will be given pathway to citizenship under new scheme

It will be open to those who don’t have a current permission to reside in Ireland.

Demonstrators back in 2017 supporting undocumented workers.
Demonstrators back in 2017 supporting undocumented workers.
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

JUSTICE MINISTER HELEN McEntee today announced a scheme which will see undocumented migrants get a chance to apply for citizenship. 

The Department of Justice said studies suggest there could be up to 17,000 undocumented people including up to 3,000 children and that many could be in employment, although likely low paid employment.

The new scheme will allow eligible applicants to remain and reside in the State and to regularise their residency status.

It will be open to those who don’t have a current permission to reside in Ireland. 

Applicants must have a period of four years undocumented residence in the State, or three years in the case of those with children. Those who are successful will receive immigration permission, access to the labour market and can begin a path to citizenship, McEntee said. 

“Given that those who will benefit from this scheme currently live in the shadows, it is difficult to say how many will be eligible, but we are opening this scheme for six months from January to allow people to come forward and regularise their status.

“It will bring some much-needed certainty and peace of mind to thousands of people who are already living here and making a valuable contribution to our society and the economy, many of whom may be very vulnerable due to their current immigration circumstances,” she added. 

Justice for Undocumented Group (JFU) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) have campaigned for over 11 years to regularise undocumented people, families and children.

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Tjanasi Potso, Chairperson of JFU said the new scheme will transform the lives of many migrants in Ireland. 

“I firstly want to commend the resilience, determination and daily courage of undocumented people who have fought so long and hard for this scheme, it will transform our lives. Make no mistake this was achieved because a small group of people took a big step to come forward and campaign for rights and recognition.”

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