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Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 23 April 2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ceisteanna (499, 510)

Eoghan Murphy

Ceist:

499. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is considering introducing a earned regularisation scheme for undocumented migrant workers [18768/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

510. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce an early regularisation scheme to deal with the issue of the undocumented living here. [19121/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 499 and 510 together.

I refer the Deputies to my reply below to Parliamentary Questions 409 and 448 (taken together) of 26 March 2013. The position with regard to my Department is unchanged since then and was stated as follows. There are no current plans to engage in any form of blanket regularisation of migrants who are unlawfully in the State. It is the responsibility of all non EEA nationals who are resident in the State to ensure that they have an appropriate permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality. Most migrants do in fact comply with this condition and obey the State’s immigration laws.

Clearly, all illegal immigrant cases are not the same and must be dealt with on a case by case basis taking account of their individual circumstances. At one end of the scale are those where the person’s illegal status is through no fault of their own and indeed the Department continues to deal with cases of this nature on an ongoing basis. However there are also much more egregious instances of immigration abuse, often at considerable expense to the State and it does not follow that such persons should profit from their conduct.

At EU level, the Member States, in agreeing the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum at the European Council in October 2008 made specific commitments “to use only case-by-case regularisation, rather than generalised regularisation, under national law, for humanitarian or economic reasons”. While the Pact is not legally binding, the political commitment among Member States, then and now, is clearly against any form of process that would in any way legitimise the status of those unlawfully present without first examining the merits of their individual cases. In our case there are also considerations based on maintaining the integrity of the Common Travel Area with the UK which must be taken into account.

In looking at cases as they arise, among the issues that would be relevant to the outcome would be the circumstances in which the person became undocumented, the length of time they have been in that situation, their prospects of being able to gain lawful employment without being a drain on the financial resources of the State such as the welfare, health, housing and education areas, along with the more general considerations applicable to immigration decisions, including any family related rights they may have in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sometimes case by case consideration will result in a positive outcome for the applicant. However, in other cases this may result in a decision by the Irish authorities, subject to the oversight of our Courts, that the person has to go home. That decision should be respected.

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