I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 166 together.
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to bring forward a regularisation scheme within 18 months of the formation of the Government, to create new pathways for long-term undocumented people and their dependents, meeting specified criteria and bearing in mind Ireland's European Union (EU) and Common Travel Area (CTA) commitments.
Currently there is no scheme for the undocumented in place but work is underway in my Department to give effect to this commitment. This work is being informed by an assessment of international best practice and having regard to our EU and CTA commitments. I intend to consult with relevant Government Departments, civil society and other interested parties, before finalising the Scheme, which I expect to be in a position to launch in the second half of this year.
In the meantime, I would encourage any person who is resident in the State without permission to contact my Department or their local immigration office and to take all appropriate steps to regularise their own and their family's status. In all cases, people must engage with the authorities if they wish to be permitted to remain here legally.
For those who are in the State illegally, a full consideration of all aspects of their case will be carried out before a decision is made to grant permission to remain in the State or to make a Deportation Order. This will include a consideration of their private and family life rights, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Immigration Service of my Department examines each case of undocumented or illegal persons in the State on a case by case basis and a pragmatic approach is taken in relation to each case which is considered on its individual merits.