I propose to take Questions Nos. 514, 516 and 517 together.
Currently, due to public health restrictions, for the safety of all our customers and staff, the Registration Office can only operate at 50% of our normal capacity. This means that we can register a maximum of 200 customers per day, resulting in 1,000 customers being registered every week. My officials continue to engage with stakeholders to understand how best their needs can be met.
Staff in the Burgh Quay Registration Office have been working extra hours, including at weekends, to meet the demand for first-time registrations to attend in person and to process the online renewal of permissions.
For customers seeking to register for the first time, the public office in Burgh Quay is now open from 08:00 to 20:30 to provide assistance to customers. Customers should continue to apply directly for appointments as they become available without charge, through the online appointments system: burghquayregistrationoffice.inis.gov.ie.
The online booking system is available to all customers. My Department has always engaged with stakeholders that need to register large numbers of people to agree how best to facilitate this in a way that does not impact individuals’ ability to make an appointment. My Department is currently finalising plans to increase the number of appointments available to customers in the near future.
My Department is also aware that there have been issues in the past around the securing of registration appointments and has continually introduced software fixes designed to improve the system. These new measures have been partly successful in preventing the block booking of appointments by third party agents.
However, some third party agents continue to provide appointment booking services in return for payment on the basis that the person provides them with their personal details in advance. My Department strongly advises against this practice of providing sensitive and personal data to unregulated and unknown third parties.
A new Immigration Service appointment and scheduling system, which will streamline and further improve the registration process, is currently being developed and is expected to be available to customers shortly.