New Preclearance process to be introduced to help Non-EEA de facto partners of Irish citizens live and work in Ireland

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, is today launching a new streamlined preclearance process to make it easier for Irish emigrants to return home with their Non-EEA de facto partners.

Under the new process, de facto partners of Irish citizens will be allowed to apply for their permission to reside in the country before they travel to Ireland.

Announcing the Preclearance plan, Minister Flanagan said:

“Preclearance will provide greater certainty for people considering or planning on moving back home to Ireland with their non-EEA de facto partner.”

Making the point that he wanted to ensure that there is a clear and simple path available for those who want to return to Ireland with their de facto partners, he continued:

“I hope this will encourage more people to come home. In recent times, many of our young and our most highly educated citizens have emigrated. They may have wanted to further their careers, make more money, or simply to experience the wider world. While away, some have met life partners and perhaps even started their own families. We want to show these people that Ireland is ready to welcome them home and that we will provide a clear immigration and labour market pathway for their de facto partners.”

The change means that, reflecting the diversity of modern relationships and families, the immigration situation of de facto partners will be more akin to non-EEA spouses and civil partners of Irish citizens.

Under the previous system, the application process for de facto partners could only begin upon their arrival in the State and may have taken up to a year to complete. Now, once preclearance has been granted, applicants can arrive and register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) immediately. They will then have access to the labour market straight away.

Noting the benefits of the new measure for the economic independence of de facto partners, Minister Flanagan said:

“By allowing people to obtain preclearance before they arrive we can speed up the process and provide certainty about being able to access the labour market on arrival, once registered with INIS. In the past this could have taken up to a year, which is a long time when you are trying to build a new life in a new country.”

The new preclearance process addresses one of the key recommendations of the Indecon Report ‘Addressing Challenges faced by returning Irish emigrants’ and is part of an ongoing INIS customer service improvement plan.

Full details and further information on the revised arrangements, including the criteria for obtaining preclearance, are set-out in the INIS website www.inis.gov.ie.

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Nasha Gazeta

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