Immigration Residence & Protection Bill
Immigrants and their advocates are awaiting what we understand is the imminent publication of a revised Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill. A coalition of eight human rights organisations prepared a Briefing paper on the previous government’s Immigration Residence & Protection Bill of 2010.
The briefing paper was prepared by Nasc in conjunction with The Irish Refugee Council, AkiDwA, Crosscare Migrant Project, Doras Luimní, The Immigrant Council of Ireland, MRCI and the Integration Centre.
It outlines our concerns about several key issues:
- The 2010 Bill is not clear & transparent. It fails to set out the rules under which people can enter and remain in the State. Instead, many decisions would be dependent on the discretion of the Minister for Justice.
- The 2010 Bill introduces a provision allowing for summary removal. Under the 2010 Bill, a person who is in the State without permission could be removed without notice. This creates a position whereby vulnerable migrants and those in need of protection could be removed without having had access to justice and fair procedures.
- The 2010 Bill does not facilitate access to justice. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all individuals subject to administrative decisions should have access to effective remedies, including access to an independent appeals body or, if necessary, the courts. The provisions of the 2010 Bill fall considerably short in this regard.
- The 2010 Bill introduces a more efficient protection system, but it does not ensure fairness. Ireland has one of the most restrictive and inefficient systems in the world for assessing claims for asylum or protection. The 2010 Bill introduces a single procedure for assessing applications, replacing the system of a series of separate procedures that applicants endure at present. Unfortunately however, it lacks the procedural protections which would counter the assumption that those seeking protection in Ireland are not in fact “genuine refugees.”
- The 2010 Bill does not protect victims of trafficking. It does not adequately protect victims of trafficking, or facilitate the investigation of the crime of trafficking.
- The 2010 Bill does not respect family life. Family reunification is the primary source of immigration internationally and is a major issue of concern to Irish citizens, refugees and migrants in Ireland. In stark contrast to other EU Member States, Ireland does not have national rules regarding family reunification enshrined in primary legislation. The 201o Bill does not answer this need.
- The 2010 Bill does not provide for independent residence & protection for victims of domestic violence. The Bill does not resolve the issue that, in Ireland, many victims of domestic abuse do not leave violent situations, as there is no clarity regarding their rights and entitlements to access support service or retain their permission to reside in the State.
- The 2010 Bill does not recognise the vulnerability of children. It fails to include a requirement for decision-makers to give primary consideration to the best interests of the child.
- The 2010 Bill responds well to the exploitation of migrant workers. Provision in the Bill to renew the residence permissions and protect migrant workers who have become undocumented through no fault of their own is welcomed and needs to be retained.
- The 2010 Bill does not allow for the granting of permanent residence. The granting of permanent residence status is internationally recognised as best practice for the promotion of integration. Ireland performs particularly weakly in this area compared to other countries internationally. The 2010 Bill failed to introduce a provision for granting permanent residence.
- The 2010 Bill did not adequately deal with procedures surrounding unlawful residence and regularisation. One of the ways in which some individuals can become unlawfully resident, or undocumented, is due to the delays in the processing of their applications for renewal of their residence permission. The 2010 Bill does not deal with this problem.
We hope that Minister Alan Shatter has taken these concerns into account in drafting the new legislation.
Click on this link to read Nasc’s detailed Submission on key elements of the IRP bill 2010.