There is no official data on the number of undocumented people in the State, as such people tend to avoid official notice. The Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland has previously estimated that there are some 15,000 to 17,000 undocumented people in the State including 2,000 to 3,000 children. These are estimates and not official statistics.
There are a variety of reasons as to why people become undocumented and therefore the number of undocumented people in the State will fluctuate over time.
When I brought my proposals to Government I made it clear that there was no way of establishing how many people will benefit from the scheme and no firm data existed to help on that point.
Notwithstanding that, I am happy to say that the Government approved my proposal for a once-in-a-generation scheme to regularise thousands of undocumented migrants and their families who are living in Ireland. We are demonstrating the same goodwill and generosity of spirit that we ask is shown to the countless Irish people who left this island to build their lives elsewhere.
The Government’s decision will bring some much-needed certainty and peace of mind about their right to live and work in Ireland 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.
The time-limited scheme will open for online applications in January 2022 and applications will be accepted for six months. Further details regarding the qualifying criteria and the opening date for the scheme will be published on my Department's Irish Immigration website (www.irishimmigration.ie) in due course.