As a member of the Domestic Violence Coalition, Nasc welcomes the recent INIS publication of new guidelines confirming that victims of domestic violence may retain their right of residency upon separation from an abusive family member. Nasc has long campaigned for the publication of a formal policy in this area.
Although we broadly welcome these guidelines, which we recognize as an important first step, we continue to have a number of concerns:
1. Nasc is disappointed by the requirement that independent immigration status only applies when the parties are no longer living together as a family unit. It is our experience that many victims of domestic violence are unable to leave a family home due to concerns of homelessness, destitution and the welfare of their children. We are therefore concerned that many victims of domestic violence will be unable to avail of the recently published policy. The requirement to leave the family home does not meet the needs of victims of domestic violence. Nasc also believes that the policy lacks clarity as it does not clearly state the type of immigration permission that will be awarded by INIS in circumstances where the applicant wishes to access employment in the State.
Nasc calls upon INIS to review these requirements. We will continue to work to keep INIS informed about how the guidelines can be enhanced and developed to ensure people have clarity about their rights and entitlements.
2. Nasc is also concerned that victims of domestic violence continue to experience barriers in accessing social protection payments.
We strongly call upon the Department of Social Protection to follow the lead of INIS and issue similar guidelines on their policies for supporting migrant victims of domestic violence to access emergency support.