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Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 24 February 2021

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (746)

Bernard Durkan


746. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the current restrictions in place with regard to the processing of employment visas due to Covid-19; the expected timeline for these restrictions; if visa applications currently in the application process are affected by these restrictions and delays; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10518/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, with effect from close of business on 29 January 2021, the Immigration Service of my Department has temporarily ceased accepting new visa/preclearance applications.

The Immigration Service is continuing to accept and process Emergency/Priority applications during this time. Applications received prior to 29 January 2021, continue to be processed. However, for successful applications, unless the application meets the Emergency/Priority criteria, a visa will not issue until such time as the restrictions have been lifted. The Immigration Service will notify the applicant that their application was successful. Refusal letters for unsuccessful applications will continue to be issued.

Increasing travel restrictions and the measures introduced as part of the Government’s efforts to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19 means that travel may not be possible and even if possible is not advisable unless absolutely essential. It is currently against the law for any person (regardless of nationality or passport) to travel within Ireland for non-essential purposes and people can be fined for doing so.

While it will still be possible to apply for an Irish visa/preclearance online in the normal manner, these temporary measures mean that applicants will not be able to complete their application process. Any application made online will remain valid until such time as restrictions are lifted.

The Immigration Service intends to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Information on the types of visas being processed is available by visiting the website at:

The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks. These measures are designed to support our public health restrictions on movement, including into and out of Ireland.