There have been several developments in Irish immigration in recent weeks. Here is a brief update:
Visas – Ukrainian Citizens currently do not need a Visa to travel to Ireland. The waiving of visa requirements is an emergency measure, which will apply to all Ukrainians travelling to Ireland. Travellers to Ireland without a visa during the period of invasion of the Ukraine will initially be given a standard 90-day entry permission while appropriate support and protection measures are put in place.
Access to labour market, health, education, and social services – On March 4th, the Council of the European Union introduced the previously unused Temporary Protection Directive, allowing Ukrainians to be treated as “temporary EU citizens”, avoiding the need for most immigration processes. This simplifies the arrivals process, and the Department of Justice has started working on the directive, which would provide an alternative to seeking international protection. Arrivals from the Ukraine, including Ukrainian nationals, their families and others residing legally in the Ukraine, will be covered. On arrival in Ireland, they will receive a Temporary Protection Certificate which will provide a year’s “temporary residency”, which can later be extended to three years. It will provide “an immediate right to access of the labour market, housing, social welfare, healthcare, education, training and other supports”. Once the current emergency period has passed, those with the Temporary Protection Certificate will likely need to register to receive an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card. Further updates will be posted by the Department of Justice on their website www.irishimmigration.ie.
As of March 6th, in line with the removal of Covid restrictions and to support those entering from Ukraine, international travellers to Ireland will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test upon arrival.
With effect from March 1st, a new version of the Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card, example below, will commence to issue to all non-EEA nationals registered to live/work/study in Ireland. The new IRP card will be compliant with the updated EU common format specifications and will include additional security features for validation. The IRP will also include a signature of the cardholder.
In-date versions of the old design, example below, will remain valid to the stated expiry date printed on the IRP card or 31 May 2022, in line with the Minister’s general extension of permissions provided during the Covid pandemic, whichever is the later.
Over over the past number months, processing times for employment permit applications have lengthened considerably. The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment experienced a significant increase in applications from 16,293 in 2020 to 27,666 in 2021, an all time high. The backlog of applications at the end of January 2022 was 10,500 cases. The Department has reacted by trebling staff numbers and placing a particular focus on ‘new’ employment permit applications over renewal applications in an effort to reduce the backlog.
Current processing dates are
• Standard: 6th October 2021
• Trusted Partner: 18th November 2021
Doctors who have been working in Ireland for more than two years will now be able to access a Stamp 4 permit and spousal work rights. Stamp 4 offers the right to work without preconditions. The changes will reduce the administrative burden and give most doctors with General Employment Permits the same rights as doctors on the Critical Skills Employment Permit scheme, making Ireland a much more attractive location for doctors.