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What is Next in Irish Immigration? Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020
| Fatima Aydin

What is Next in Irish Immigration? Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020

According to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) there are roughly “250,000 immigration applications a year – for visas, registration of non-EEA nationals, residence permissions, international protection, and citizenship. In addition, up to 16 million passengers are expected to be immigrated by INIS through Dublin Airport.”

Ireland’s labour market has strengthened significantly over the past couple of years, a result of an improving economy and strong job growth. To ensure that the Irish Government continues to be responsive to the changing labour market and to customer needs, the INIS Service Improvement Plan sets out a series of recommendations to be addressed over the next two years. The Irish government aims to improve its immigration service and has put forward areas where they will tackle the inefficiencies in service delivery. These are welcome developments given that the Improvement Plan aims to promote the principle of designing the immigration services around customer needs.

What are some of the main points of the INIS report?

The authorities have identified five pillars to help shape the focus area for improvement. Those pillars are:

Pillar 1 – Mission, purpose and legislative context

Pillar 2 – Maintaining a safe and secure immigration system

Pillar 3 – Efficient and effective service delivery

Pillar 4 – Services designed based on customer needs

Pillar 5 – Investing resources in delivering change

To give effect to these pillars, the authorities have committed to the following actions:

  • To introduce an Immigration and Residency Reform Bill which will aim to modernize migration policy.
  • To enhance cooperation with other State agencies to ensure a cohesive approach to immigration and protection related matters and to ensure that the needs and rights of immigrants are met and respected. This would be along with ensuring that the immigration system reflects wider public policy priorities.
  • To combine the new Irish Residence Permit card (IRP) with the Public Services Card and integration of re-entry visa with registration functions. The latter of these aims will be implemented with effect from May 2019.
  • To implement new technologies to improve service delivery to customers including new online self-service capabilities and enhanced communications through the website and all communication channels.
  • To procure a new appointment and queue management system for the immigration Registration Offices and move from paper based application processing to decision making supported by technological advancements.
  • To increase border security and to work with the UK in enhancing the security of the Common Travel Area (CTA). This will include: ​
 
The installation of 20 eGates at Dublin Airport with CCTV, watchlist integration and additional eGates for airports new transfer facility.
  • To continue cooperation with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) on investigations through Operation Vantage. This targets individuals suspected of participation in marriages of conveniences (marriages contracted for solely immigration purposes) and in particular those facilitating such activities.
  • Renewed focus on eliminating processing backlogs in key business areas, and particularly applications for international protection and residence on the basis of EU Treaty Rights. For example, it is planned to give new international protection cases a first instance decision within nine months by the end of 2019.
  • To prepare a list of skills and competencies required by staff to undertake the work in the immigration sections of the government.
  • To translate essential material from the government's immigration website into other languages and to translate signage in public offices into key foreign languages.
 
The report aims to encourage renewed focus and to achieve greater inter-agency co-operation. The improved processes will be introduced in order to meet the demands of customers and is the key in the context of increased migration into Ireland. This level of foresight and flexibility from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service is unprecedented and incredibly progressive, with key milestone changes already being implemented, such as the abolition of re-entry visas and the introduction of a new right to work for certain migrant spouses.
 

For more information, please contact me at Fatima.Aydin@Fragomen.com