Minister Flanagan announces temporary extension of immigration permissions
Extension of immigration permissions due to expire between 20 March and 20 May 2020
Temporary closures of Burgh Quay Registration Office being taken in response to COVID-19 crisis
Legal status of people with valid immigration permissions to be maintained
20 March 2020
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., has today announced that immigration permissions, due to expire between 20 March and 20 May 2020, will be automatically extended for two months.
The Registration Office in Burgh Quay in Dublin will close for the coming weeks, with immediate effect. Anyone with an appointment scheduled at Burgh Quay in the period to 20 May will be contacted by Immigration Service Delivery. This is part of the Department’s emergency response to COVID-19.
While the primary reason for closing the Registration Office at Burgh Quay is due to the high footfall, challenges in maintaining social distancing and to ensure consistency across the system, these new measures will also apply to immigration registrations and renewals that take place outside of Dublin in local Garda Stations, by the local Immigration Officers. This will also free up members of An Garda Síochána for other operational duties at this crucial time.
Announcing the new temporary arrangements, Minister Flanagan addressed those affected directly, saying:
“I want to assure people whose immigration permissions are due to expire shortly that your legal status in the country will be maintained. If your immigration or international protection permission will expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020, I am granting you an automatic renewal for two months. This renewal is on the same basis as your existing permission and the same conditions will continue to apply.
We are taking this step at this extraordinary time to ensure your safety. High-demand public offices make applying social distancing more difficult. We also want to ensure that you are not undertaking any non-essential travel to attend appointments at this time.
This is an exceptional measure in response to exceptional circumstances. If this decision was not made there is a danger that you could become unlawful in the country through no fault of your own. I am acting now to ensure this does not happen.
The measures announced today apply to those whose permission to be in the State is due to expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020. We will keep the situation under active review as matters evolve in our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Minister Flanagan urged everyone to closely follow HSE guidance and to consult the HSE website for up to date information on protecting themselves, their families and the wider community at this very difficult time.
The new measures will apply to 3 primary categories of persons whose permissions are due to expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020:
Renewal of existing permissions / registrations
Persons who hold a current valid permission.
Awaiting first registration
Persons granted permission to land at a port of entry on condition they register at Burgh Quay or their local AGS registration office within 3 months but who have yet to do so.
Short stay visas
Those in the country on foot of a short stay visa and who have been granted permission to remain for less than 3 months who may be unable to leave the State and return home due to uncertainties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The range of permissions encompassed under these provisions is broad and further information on this and on these new arrangements can be found at: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/frequently-asked-questions-immigration-permission-covid-19-temporary-measures.pdf/Files/frequently-asked-questions-immigration-permission-covid-19-temporary-measures.pdf
Notes for Editors
Minister Flanagan will automatically renew all immigration and international protection (asylum) permissions that are due to expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020 for 2 months. Renewals are on the same basis as existing permissions and the same conditions will continue to apply. For existing permissions granted under the EU Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC), the automatic renewal is subject to the requirement that the person is continuing to comply with the requirements of the Directive.
To ensure consistency across the system, these new measures will also apply to immigration registrations and renewals that take place outside of Dublin in local Garda Stations by the local Immigration Officers. This will also free up members of An Garda Síochána for other operational duties at this crucial time.
This measure will preserve the legal status of people with permissions about to expire in the coming period. The requirement to register this permission will not arise until Burgh Quay (and other Immigration offices) re-open or alternative arrangements may be put in place.
Approximately 450 registration appointments are issued for the Office in Burgh Quay each day.
Typically immigration permissions are renewed on an annual basis and are then required to be registered. In 2019, Immigration Service Delivery in the Department of Justice and Equality registered over 100,000 permissions/registrations and Registration offices in other Districts where the District Officer is the Registration Officer processed over 85,000 registrations/renewals.
This is an ongoing requirement and in the event of an inability to renew existing valid immigration permissions, over 2,000 people per week could find themselves without a lawful permission to remain in the state.
Any person who has an appointment scheduled that is now impacted by these new measures will be contacted by Immigration Service Delivery (ISD).