Fianna Fáil has today published a Bill proposing a once-off scheme to allow undocumented migrants to earn residency rights in Ireland.
The scheme aims to address the reality facing the 30,000 migrants living illegally in Ireland and often working on the black market.
Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD explained, “Our current policy on undocumented migrants in Ireland is in stark contrast to our sustained campaign on the plight of the undocumented Irish in the US.
“There are strong humanitarian, economic and pragmatic grounds for addressing the situation facing the tens of thousands of undocumented migrants living here. Our proposals would allow them to earn residency rights, thereby removing them from the black market and encouraging integration into normal community life in Ireland.
“This scheme is not an amnesty. We do not want to send out a signal that Ireland could be a ‘soft target’ for organisations involved in human trafficking. The scheme would only be available to migrants who can prove they have been living in Ireland for a number of years. Applicants must pay a levy to apply for the scheme. And they must achieve a series of appropriate measures of integration before they can earn temporary or permanent residency rights. Anyone with a serious criminal conviction or who submits false information in their application will be disqualified.
“Once admitted to the scheme, applicants will be issued with 12-month residency permission which will entitle them to get a job, set up a business or engage education or training. They will then be required to accrue a minimum number of credits to successfully complete the scheme. They can earn credits through social integration, working and paying tax, training and learning English and/or Irish.
“This is about providing a once-off opportunity to migrants who are already living here long-term to fully participate in Irish life by allowing them to work legitimately, pay taxes and contribute to their local communities. Rather than introducing an amnesty or blanket regularisation, this scheme provides a pathway to earning residency rights through a series of tough but fair measures.”
Fianna Fáil will move the Bill in the Dáil today.