Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (126)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

126. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether the delays in processing applications from migrant workers to work here are justifiable (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51298/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the online booking system for registration appointments.

As outlined in responses to previous parliamentary questions, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department became aware in September of customers experiencing difficulties booking registration appointments. Some of these difficulties had arisen because third party agents had been able to secure multiple appointments through the use of automatic software. Software upgrades were put in place to minimise this abuse.

The period September to November is the busiest time for registrations with many student registrations in addition to the usual workload of the office. A number of measures have been taken to increase the capacity of the office, including the assignment of additional staff to the Registration Office, overtime and opening the office for registrations on most Saturdays and some Sundays. These measures are aimed at ensuring that as many appointments as possible are made available each day. INIS is continuing these measures at least into December to ensure demand is met.

I am also advised that INIS is currently developing a new online appointments system which should be operational late next year. This new system will assist in streamlining and improving the current online booking process. However, it is necessary for customers who are registering for the first time to attend the Registration Office as first time registration requires the capture of biometric information. INIS is examining options for renewals of some types of permissions for 2019 and is also developing a new computerised registration system which will enable further options to streamline the registration process to be developed. This is a large ICT project planned to be delivered in 2020. The overall aim of these measures is to improve customer service and efficiency and so that future demands can be met.