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- 26/05/2015 Ministers O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald announce Government approval of reforms to the student immigration system for international education
The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, today announced that the Government has approved the implementation of a series of reforms to the student immigration system for international education, in response to concerning practices within certain parts of the sector and a number of English language college closures. The reforms are designed to drive real, lasting change in the sector and will tackle abuse of the immigration regime and labour market, improve the overall quality of offering to international students, and improve protection for learners, whilst safeguarding the strong international reputation of high-quality Irish education providers in line with the goals of Ireland’s International Education Strategy.
- 13/05/2015 Ireland responds positively to EU call for Action on Migration - Fitzgerald
Minister Fitzgerald announces plans to resettle additional 300 vulnerable people in response to European Commission proposals on Migration
- 12/05/2015 Statement by the Department of Justice and Equality on reform of the English Language sector
The recent closure of a number of private English language colleges has again highlighted the wholly unacceptable manner in which part of our international education industry has been operating. It is self-evident that for some of the businesses in this sector, the primary service on sale is the facilitation of immigration and educational courses are a means of delivering that. Many of the students and teachers unfortunately become innocent victims of these disreputable enterprises. Whilst there are many genuine language schools operating entirely legitimately, the efforts of these schools and of the State in promoting and regulating a valuable sector of the economy is being severely undermined by a small number of rogue operators. These operators have shown scant regard for immigration rules and no regard for the welfare of genuine students. The first concern for genuine students is to reassure them about their immigration status. All existing immigration permissions of students in recently closed colleges will be honoured in full and the students will be entitled to work in accordance with the rules for student migration. In remains the case that there are many good and reputable schools that can provide a quality course and some are offering special deals for those displaced in the closures.
- 20/04/2015 Minister Fitzgerald attends EU emergency meeting on Mediterranean migrant crisis
Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, is today attending an emergency meeting of EU Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministers in Luxembourg, convened following the most recent tragic loss of life of migrants attempting to travel from North Africa to Europe. Speaking before the meeting Minister Fitzgerald said: “Yesterday’s event is a terrible human tragedy. An urgent response is required to stem the flow of migrants to Europe and to tackle the criminal activity that drives this horrendous trade in human misery. This is an EU issue and an EU solution is needed. The EU must now act as one. “Today I will reaffirm Ireland's commitment to working with our EU colleagues to provide the best possible response to this extremely difficult issue.”
- 20/04/2015 Minister Flanagan and Minister Fitzgerald attend EU meeting on migration in the Mediterranean
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, today attended an extraordinary joint meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers and EU Home Affairs Ministers called in response to recent tragic events in the Mediterranean. Speaking after the meeting Minister Flanagan said: "Minister Fitzgerald and I share the total horror at this weekend's tragedy, indeed the many recent tragedies, in the Mediterranean. Ireland strongly shares the concern of our EU and Southern partners and we agree that solutions must be found jointly to address a humanitarian crisis on this scale. We need to address the human safety and organised crime aspects of this crisis. However, more than anything, people need to be safe in their home countries and for this sustainable political solutions to conflicts are essential. We will continue to assist people affected by conflict and persecution, particularly those affected by the crisis in Syria, where Ireland has provided over €32million in humanitarian support since 2011. Ireland is also strongly committed to helping those affected by less high profile crises, including many in Africa. It is through assistance of this type that we can reduce the pressure on people to risk their lives attempting to reach Europe."
- 25/03/2015 Minister Fitzgerald publishes General Scheme of the International Protection Bill to reduce waiting times for asylum applicants
Wednesday 25 March 2015 Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, today published the General Scheme of the International Protection Bill which was approved by Government. This is the first step in delivering the Government’s undertaking to reduce the length of time asylum applicants spend in the direct provision system through establishing a single applications procedure for international protection. The undertaking has been made under the Statement of Government Priorities 2014-2016. Minister Fitzgerald successfully proposed that the Government fast-track this reforming legislation to achieve early implementation of the new single procedure. The new and substantial International Protection Bill contained in today’s published Scheme will deal with the key issues of qualification for international protection, including: examination and assessment of applications for international protection; the rights and entitlements of persons determined to be eligible for international protection; effective remedy against refusal of international protection.
- 09/02/2015 Minister for Justice announces extension of the British-Irish Visa Scheme to India
Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, today announced the extension of the British-Irish Visa Scheme to India. The British-Irish Visa Scheme facilitates 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 from India 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. The Minister said: “Following the very successful launch of the scheme for China in October last, it has now been extended to India. This decision is taken jointly by the Irish and UK authorities with the aim of boosting tourism and business travel to our countries. The British-Irish Visa Scheme is a unique opportunity for the tourism promotion bodies on both islands to jointly promote tourism travel to Ireland and the UK. With that objective Tourism Ireland and Visit Britain are working together to market the British-Irish Visa Scheme in China and India.”
- 26/01/2015 Immigration in Ireland – 2014
Report on key immigration figures · 2015 priorities for Immigration Service to include completion of civilianisation of border control at Dublin Airport, reform of the asylum system and an online appointment system for re-entry visa applicants · 42 new recruits start public service careers in Immigration Service today as part of civilianisation of border control at Dublin Airport
- 23/01/2015 Minister Fitzgerald attends 100th Citizenship Ceremony
Minister Fitzgerald attends 100th Citizenship Ceremony · Processing time for citizenship applications dramatically reduced from 31 months in 2011 to less than 6 months today · More than 59,000 people attend 100 Citizenship Ceremonies since June 2011
- 13/01/2015 Statement by Minister Fitzgerald and Minister O'Sullivan on Judgment of the High Court in relation to international education sector
The judgment of the High Court today in the case brought by the National Employee Development and Training Centre and Academic Bridge is being examined by the Departments of Justice and Equality, and Education and Skills. The Ministers for Justice and Equality, and Education and Skills are fully committed to delivering on the Government's regulatory reforms programme in this area announced in September 2014. The Ministers will examine the range of options that are available to progress the reforms in a manner consistent with the High Court decision, and without prejudice to a possible appeal. The Government is committed to maintaining Ireland's reputation as a high quality destination for international students and will continue to implement all necessary reforms to protect that reputation