The Irish government has opened a “one generation scheme” for undocumented immigrants to obtain official permission to live in the country.
According to the Irish Department of Justice, it is estimated that around 17,000 unregistered people live in Ireland – 3,000 of whom are minors. The new system enables people who have lived in the country for four years to apply for citizenship. While the scheme launched today, January 31, it will be open for application for six months, until July 31, TheSchengen.com reports.
In addition, the time limit is further reduced for parents with children under the age of 18, who can become permanent residents of Ireland if they have lived in the country within the past three years. On the other hand, those who have children between the ages of 18 and 23 can include their spouse and children in their application.
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Ireland’s Minister of Justice, Helen McEntee, said the scheme would improve the lives of thousands of illegal residents who are indirectly contributing to society.
Irish Department of Justice data shows that the number of citizenship decisions in recent years has changed dramatically – 2020 being the lowest. From 11,081 decisions issued in 2016, the number decreased to 5,159, which represents a decrease of 53.44 percent. A similar drop was observed in pre-pandemic levels, with 9,332 decisions issued – still 44.71 percent more than in 2020.
However, asylum applications have increased in the country, as previously revealed by Equality Minister Rodrik Ogermann. According to the Irish Times report, a total of 333 people applied for international protection in Ireland – six times as many as in 2020 (44). The same report reveals that every month 60 people applied for international protection in 2020.
According to the European Union Asylum Agency, the number of asylum applications for minors increased across the 27-country bloc, with 3,300 applications filed in October and 3,200 in November – the highest application rates for unaccompanied minors since 2015 and also five per cent of All applicants registered in November. Nationals of Afghanistan made up about half of all applications for unaccompanied minors, followed by nationals of Syria, Somalia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The same source revealed that the European Union authorities accepted 71,400 asylum applications for international protection in November 2021, becoming the second highest request since 2017.