I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the applications referred to by the Deputy were received in the Abuja Visa Office on 7 December, 2018. Our Policy Document on Family Reunification, contains a stated business target that visa applications to join Irish citizens should ideally be dealt with within six months of receipt of application. However, this business target does not constitute a legal obligation. As the Deputy will appreciate, there is detailed and often complex assessment required to be carried out in relation to applications for family reunification.
While the Immigration Service endeavours to have applications of this nature processed as quickly as possible, processing times can vary based on a number of factors. These factors include the number of applications under consideration at the time, the individual circumstances of the applicant and the sponsor, the complexity of applications and whether further information or investigation is required, and the resources available to process applications. Any delays in achieving the business target are primarily related to the processing of more complex cases where the provision of additional documentation is requested or where detailed assessments of family rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights are required.
The central concern in deciding on visa applications is to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the country's vital national interests by maintaining an effective immigration regime, while at the same time facilitating travel for those who meet the criteria. Each visa application is decided on its own merits taking all relevant factors into account.
Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Immigration Service is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to the Abuja Visa Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).