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- 14/11/2013 Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD, announces addition of Thailand to Visa Waiver Programme
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD, today announced that, from next Monday, 18 November, citizens of Thailand will be able to avail of the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme. Based on current experience with other visa waiver countries in Asia, this is likely to prove a significant boost to efforts to attract more visitors to Ireland from Thailand.
- 13/11/2013 Minister Shatter announces that processing of applications for Subsidiary Protection cases to recommence immediately
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) was established in 2005 in order to provide a ‘one stop shop’ approach in relation to asylum, immigration, citizenship and visas. The INIS also facilitates a whole of government approach to immigration and asylum issues which enables a more efficient service to be provided in these areas.
- 16/10/2013 Minister Shatter reveals details of proposed new visa arrangements with UK to commence in 2014 to attract tens of thousands of additional non-EU visitors to Ireland
The United Kingdom Government’s announcement of changes to the UK visa application process for visitors from China is to be welcomed as good news for Ireland and a boost for the Irish tourism and business sectors, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD, said today. Minister Shatter said, “The measures announced by the UK Government are targeted at increasing visitors from China to the UK which is also a key priority for Ireland as an aid to economic growth.” “As a pro-tourism and business initiative, in July 2011 I introduced the Irish Visa Waiver Programme which has already been a notable success in increasing the number of visits to Ireland from China by over 30%.”
- 29/07/2013 Statement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, T.D., in response to the Immigrant Council of Ireland’s report on ‘Access to citizenship and its impact on immigration integration’
Ireland’s citizenship process has been comprehensively reformed since 2008, the year on which the statistical data contained in Immigrant Council of Ireland’s report is based. The report, while reflecting the situation which existed in 2008, does not take into account the changes to citizenship processes which have been made since and therefore cannot be presented as representative of the current position in 2013. The Report uses figures from 2008 as the basis for its analysis. In that year a total of 3,117 certificates of naturalisation were granted. The corresponding figure for 2012 was almost 23,400. This represents an increase of 650% in the numbers granted. In addition, picking 2008 figures for the analysis, meant that many of those immigrants who would have come to Ireland within a short period of time before 2008 would not be in a position to qualify for citizenship as they needed to be in the State for 5 years. This would further distort the findings in the report. Accordingly, drawing conclusions from 2008 data and applying them to the current position when there has been such as sea shift in the figures makes the process virtually irrelevant. As well as measures to overhaul and speed up the processing of citizenship applications I have also introduced citizenship ceremonies which provide a sense of occasion that serves to underscore the importance to both the State and the applicant of the granting of Irish citizenship. Since coming into office I have made decision on over 56,000 applications and 80% of citizenship cases are decided within 6 months compared to 2-3 years back in 2008. The real story of citizenship since this Government came into office is witnessed through the many thousands who have become Irish citizens in recent years. I am surprised and disappointed at the stark omission of such facts from the Immigrant Council’s report.
- 05/07/2013 Shatter announces changes to Immigrant Investor Programme
Shatter announces changes to Immigrant Investor Programme The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, TD today announced some significant changes in the Immigrant Investor Programme operated by his Department. The changes, which were agreed by the Government this week, followed a review of the operation of the programme after its first year and are intended to make the programme more attractive to potential investors. To date a total of 9 applications have been approved under the Immigrant Investor Programme with a project investment of over €10m and predicted employment estimated at over 123 jobs. There are however indications of further opportunities to attract inward investment and create employment opportunities.
- 04/07/2013 Minister Shatter welcomes success of Visa Waiver Programme
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter TD, today welcomed the significant growth in trips to Ireland from countries covered by the Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme, which he launched on 1 July 2011. Provisional figures indicate that the number of visits in 2012, by persons from the seventeen countries covered by the Programme, was 38% higher than in 2010, the last full year before the introduction of the Programme. The Minister stated that "this indicates that the initiative has had a real positive impact on the Irish economy. The extra visitors that have been attracted to Ireland under this Programme spend many millions of euros while here. By any standards this is a significant and positive development." The Programme, which is the first ever in the history of the State, was designed to boost visits, especially from emerging markets, and it applies to holders of UK short stay visas from seventeen selected countries - China, India, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It allows visitors, who are in possession of a UK visa, to travel on to Ireland without the need to apply for a separate Irish visa. The Government decided, in March 2012, to extend the Programme until the end of October 2016. The Minister added that, given the success of the Programme, that he is currently looking at expanding it to cover more countries.
- 10/05/2013 Immigration Service trials ‘self-service’ automated border control technology at Dublin Airport
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today (10 May) announced that the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of his Department has started six month trials of automated border control gates (e-gates) at Terminal One, Dublin Airport. This is the first time that e-gates have been used in Ireland for immigration purposes. During the trial period, the operation of these gates will mean that certain passport holders (Irish, EU, EEA and Swiss passengers over 18 years of age) will not be required to present themselves to an Immigration Officer; instead they will have the picture on their passport verified electronically. This is to ensure that the person using the passport is the person to whom it was issued. The trial is being run in cooperation with the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and is supported by automated border gate technology provided at no cost to the State by two separate border management solutions companies, SITA and Accenture.
- 19/04/2013 EU Signs Readmission Agreements with Cape Verde and Armenia
The EU signed two Readmission Agreements this week at ceremonies in Brussels; with Cape Verde (Thursday, 18 April) and with Armenia (today, 19 April). The agreements set out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of EU Member States and of Cape Verde and Armenia as to how and when to take people back who are illegally residing in each other’s territories. The agreements apply to nationals of the participating states and to third country nationals.
- 02/01/2013 Immigration in Ireland – 2012 in Review
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today published key figures on immigration related activity in Ireland in 2012. The Minster also reported on 2012’s key achievements and outlined his broad plans for further reform of the immigration system in 2013. Minister Shatter said that there was very significant progress in 2012 on delivering the major programme of initiatives and reforms in the immigration area which he has put in place.