Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (602)

Mary Butler


602. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to change the process of applying for extension of volunteer visas for non-EU citizens beyond the current two years; his further plans and processes to allow volunteer visa holders from non-EU countries to apply for citizenship without having to be resident here for five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35499/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that a new Volunteering in Ireland preclearance process for non-EEA citizens was launched in April 2018. Under the terms of the volunteering immigration permission, an individual granted such a permission can work in a volunteering role in Ireland for a period of up to 24 months, and may be eligible for a further extension of one year, to an aggregate total of 36 months. Applications for a third year extension should be made before the volunteer worker’s current permission expires.  An extension will only be allowed for volunteer service with the applicant's current sponsor and will be considered only if the sponsor can demonstrate a genuine need for the volunteer to continue working in that role.

Volunteers are typically granted a Stamp 3 immigration permission when they register for an Irish Residence Permit. I am advised that the Immigration Service currently has no plans to change the policy in relation to the immigration permission and the duration of the permission granted to volunteers. I am further advised that there are no plans to apply separate criteria for citizenship applications to the cohort of persons that come to work in Ireland on a volunteer basis.