542. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there has been a change in the visa policies and procedures rules for ministers of faith from various different denominations coming here from outside the State. [13640/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that revised procedures for persons wishing to travel to Ireland as Ministers of Religion were introduced on 30 April 2018.
These provide for a preclearance process to facilitate and streamline entry to the State and apply to both visa and non-visa required non-EEA nationals. One of the key objectives of the revised procedures is to provide certainty to applicants prior to their arrival and make their immigration process as straightforward as possible both at the port of entry and on registration of their immigration permission once in the State.
Under the Minister for Religion permission, qualifying religious personnel are permitted to enter and remain in the State for up to three years, where there is a demonstrated need for their services and subject to compliance with all other immigration requirements that apply in individual cases.
Full details of the scheme is available on the INIS website at http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/minister-of-religion-permission .