Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 many companies are starting to introduce restrictions for business related travel on their employees as a precautionary measure. As there has been no official announcement from the Department of Justice and Equality on travel/immigration restrictions, these company-imposed measures may have an impact on an employee’s Irish immigration; employment permits, entry visas, and Irish Residency Permits.
The current list of COVID-19 affected regions is: Mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, and 4 regions in Northern Italy: Veneto, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont.
Impact on Employment Permits
The Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI) advises that the permit holder enters within 90 days of the employment permit start date. However, employees can enter beyond the 90 days of the permit start date and this should not impact their ability to start work. If you are unable to enter within 90 days of your permit expiry date, then this may affect your eligibility for a Stamp 4 permission in the future, if you are a critical skills employment permit holder. To be eligible for a Stamp 4 you need to have 21 months residency in Ireland. At this time, if they are not eligible for a stamp 4, a new permit will be required prior to obtaining a stamp 4. If you hold a General or Intra company transfer permit, questions could be asked at the renewal stage of your permit as to why you did not enter within 90 days of your start date.
Impact on Entry Visas
As many of the travel restrictions being put in place are precautionary methods by businesses, there have been no official plans by the Department of Justice and Equality in Ireland. This means that the general conditions of the entry visas are still applicable. You must enter Ireland before the visa reaches its expiry date. This is typically a 90-day period, although this can vary according to the embassy granting the entry visa. You can find the expiry date of your entry visa under the ‘until’ section on your visa. There are currently no statements on extensions in relation to visas which expire due to an inability to travel caused by the coronavirus. Therefore, if you cannot travel before your entry visa expires you may have to apply for a new entry visa. Please contact CCR or your local Irish embassy to confirm whether they will be extending entry visas to allow for any travel restrictions.
Impact on Irish Residency Permits – First Time Registration and Renewals
The only press release from INIS has been about registrations for Irish Residence Permits. ‘The Department have advised that any person who has been to mainland China or other COVID-19 affected areas in the last 14 days should not attend IRP appointments until after the expiration of the 14-day period.’ The advice is to contact the Burgh Quay INIS office to reschedule the appointment after the 14 days has been completed. For the moment, this is a precautionary measure and is not applicable if you have not been to mainland China or other COVID-19 affected areas. For renewals, an IRP card holder is entitled to renew their permission ten weeks before the date of expiry if they are renewing in Dublin. If you are registering or renewing outside of Dublin, please contact your local immigration office to reschedule your appointment if the above is applicable. Renewal time prior to expiry is on a case by case basis.