Press Releases


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  • 09/12/2014   111 Syrians admitted under sponsorship programme
    The Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, TD, has announced that a total of 111 vulnerable people from Syria and the surrounding region have been granted admission to reside in Ireland following applications to her Department from relatives already resident here. A total of 308 applications were received under the Syrian Humanitarian Admissions Programme which was introduced by then Minister Alan Shatter in March last.
  • 13/10/2014   Ministers Fitzgerald and O Ríordáin announce composition of Working Group to examine improvements to the Protection process and the Direct Provision system
    Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald and Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin today announced the terms of reference and the membership of the Working Group to report to Government on improvements to the protection process, including Direct Provision and supports to asylum seekers. The establishment of the Working Group arises from the Statement of Government Priorities 2014-2016 and follows on from a roundtable consultation on the protection process with non-governmental organisations which was hosted by both Ministers. The terms of reference of the Working Group, which are set out below, are essentially concerned with respecting the dignity and improving the quality of life of applicants for international protection while their applications for international protection in the State are under investigation.
  • 06/10/2014   Minister Fitzgerald and UK Home Secretary launch landmark British-Irish Visa Scheme
    Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, together with the United Kingdom Home Secretary Theresa May, has today formally launched the British-Irish Visa Scheme at an event held at the Irish Embassy in London. The British-Irish Visa Scheme will facilitate nationals requiring a short-stay visa to travel freely within the Common Travel Area using a single visa issued by either Ireland or the UK. This will mean that tourists, business visitors and other eligible visitors will be able, for the first time, to visit both the UK and Ireland, including moving freely between north and south of the island of Ireland on a single visa. Minister Fitzgerald stated: “It is truly remarkable, and a potent symbol of the transformation in British Irish relations, that the Home Secretary and I are today jointly launching an initiative of unprecedented cooperation between our countries – the British-Irish Visa Scheme – something that but a few years ago would have seemed an impossibility. Our aim is to boost tourism and business travel to our countries and, together, we are sending a clear and powerful message that these islands are open for business. We are saying, ‘Visit our beautiful and historic lands, come and experience the best that we both have to offer’. The agreement to introduce this landmark Scheme is an historic development in the operation of the Common Travel Area which for almost the past one hundred years has been of immense political, social and economic importance to both countries.”
  • 16/09/2014   Minister Fitzgerald announces major immigration civilianisation initiative
    Frances Fitzgerald T.D, Minister for Justice and Equality, has today announced a major programme to civilianise immigration functions currently undertaken by members of An Garda Síochána. The Minister made the announcement while visiting the immigration control facilities at Dublin Airport. A number of immigration functions, such as border management and registration of non-EEA persons’ permission to be in the State, are in the main carried out by or under the control of An Garda Síochána. These functions are exercised by Garda members acting as Immigration Officers under Ministerial powers. Minister Fitzgerald stated: “As part of my focus on reforming policing in Ireland, I am committed to examining and pursuing all opportunities to civilianise non–frontline Garda tasks, to get Gardai out from behind desks and provide a visible policing service on the ground.” “The civilianisation of immigration functions represents an important step forward in this effort as it will release some 125 Gardaí for other core policing duties. “This initiative makes sense both from an efficiency and economic perspective. The programme, starting with Dublin Airport, will free up Garda members for other core policing duties while also allowing the immigration service of my Department to both reduce costs and continue to discharge the effective management of our border and immigration system.”
  • 02/09/2014   Ministers O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald launch major reform of student immigration and the international education sector
    Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Minister Frances Fitzgerald have announced major reforms of the international education sector in response to issues raised by the closure of a number of private sector colleges this year. The reforms are necessary to protect the consumer and educational interests of genuine international students, to tackle abuse of the labour market and the immigration regime, and to safeguard the strong international reputation of high-quality Irish education providers. The two Ministers also published the final report of the Task Force established to help students affected by the college closures. Alternative educational accommodation has been put in place for affected students. The Task Force report noted that, despite strengthened rules in place, there continues to be abuse of student immigration by a number of low quality providers. With today’s announcement, the two Ministers are taking urgent action to address these concerns. The new rules will take effect from 1st January 2015 and are set out in the Policy Statement “Regulatory Reform of the International Education Sector and the Student Immigration Regime”.
  • 16/06/2014   Minister Fitzgerald announces launch of joint visa initiative between Ireland and the United Kingdom
    Minister Fitzgerald announces launch of joint visa initiative between Ireland and the United Kingdom · Minister says Scheme will help attract business visitors and tourists to Ireland · Visitors will travel freely within the Common Travel Area on a single visa The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., today (16th June, 2014) announced that the ‘British Irish Visa Scheme’ between Ireland and the United Kingdom will commence this autumn starting with China and India. The British Irish Visa Scheme will allow for travel to and around the Common Travel Area (CTA) on a single visa. As matters stand, many overseas tourists and business visitors who wish to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, need separate Irish and UK visas. From the autumn the objective is that visitors from China and India will be able to travel freely within the Common Travel Area using either an Irish or UK visa. This will mean that tourists, business visitors etc. will be able, for the first time, to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa. Minister Fitzgerald said the British Irish Visa Scheme, jointly initiated by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of her Department and the UK Home Office, “Will make it easier and more attractive for visitors to visit Ireland and the UK and is expected to provide a major boost to tourism and business visitors. “China and India will be the first to benefit from this groundbreaking Scheme and I look forward to the successful implementation of the new arrangements in respect of both of those countries.” The Minister emphasised that the Scheme “marked an historic development in the relationship between Ireland and the UK and in the operation of the Common Travel Area which has existed between the two countries since 1922.” “Both countries are committed now more than ever before to working together on visa and border matters and the British Irish Visa Scheme reflects that unprecedented level of cooperation.” “Building on the success of the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme introduced by the Government in July 2011, the British Irish Visa Scheme will enable both countries’ immigration systems to work in tandem to promote and facilitate legitimate tourism and business travel to Ireland and the UK while also strengthening the external borders of the Common Travel Area.”
  • 13/03/2014   Minister Shatter announces targeted changes in the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme
    The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today announced some targeted changes in the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) operated by his Department. The changes, which were agreed by the Government, followed a review of the operation of the STEP and are intended to refine the programme and improve its appeal to potential migrant entrepreneurs. To date a total of 20 applications have been approved under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme with a projected investment of over €6 million and potential employment creation of over 220 jobs. There are, however, indications of further opportunities to attract entrepreneurs and further enhance Ireland’s excellent reputation as a business and investment location.
  • 12/03/2014   Minister Shatter announces Humanitarian Admission Programme to assist vulnerable persons suffering in Syria and surrounding countries
    In response to an approach by members of the Syrian community in Ireland and in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD today announced that he is putting in place an immigration based humanitarian admission programme with a view to providing some further assistance to vulnerable persons affected by the conflict in the region. The "Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme" (SHAP) will focus on offering temporary Irish residence to vulnerable persons present in Syria, or who have fled from Syria to surrounding countries since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011, who have close family members residing in the State.
  • 06/01/2014   Immigration in Ireland – 2013 in Review
    Immigration in Ireland – 2013 in Review