The announcement by Helen McEntee Minister for Justice that there will now be a clear route to regularising residency and applying for citizenship for undocumented migrants and asylum seekers, is great news “, said Reuben Hambakachere,  Meath Labour Equality Officer.
He was responding to the Minister’s statement that the government will commence in January 2022 a once-off scheme for undocumented people to apply to have their residency status regularised. This will enable eligible applicants to remain and reside in the State.
He said: “There are hundreds of people living and working in Meath who can benefit from the new scheme. “
“Many undocumented people are living and working here and contributing to society but they are very vulnerable to exploitation because they are undocumented.
“This is also good news for people in Direct Provision as there will be a parallel process for them. The Minister has stated that the scheme  will allow those who have an outstanding application for international protection and have been in the asylum process for a minimum of two years to apply.”
“However, for the new scheme to work effectively additional resources will have to be given to the statutory and voluntary bodies who will be involved in the processing of applications. There is huge work involved in this.”
“Applicants need help in getting all the documents required, having translations done, adhering to timescales, and receiving assurance that they will be treated fairly. “
“The new scheme must also take into account the fact that Covid-19 has caused considerable delays in the transmission of information worldwide.