Luke Byrne, Independent (Ireland), October 15 2018
More than 5,000 undocumented immigrants in Ireland could be eligible to apply for permission to remain in the State under a new scheme to be announced today.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will announce details of the scheme to allow people from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who have no valid visa to be allowed to stay.
The scheme will be open for three months, from today until January 20, 2019.
It is open to non-EEA nationals living here who held a valid student permission from January 2005 to December 2010 and who have not, in the intervening period, acquired an alternative immigration permission.
It’s understood between 3,500 and 5,500 people may fall into the cohort who could apply.
Mr Flanagan said he expected those who would benefit were in turn going to benefit from the economy. To qualify, a person must be able to demonstrate they were self-sufficient and would not become an unreasonable burden on the State.
“In these circumstances, beneficiaries can be expected to be net contributors to the economy,” he said.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland welcomed the announcement but called for more compassion and said it was concerned about the strict criteria.
“This scheme is long overdue and most welcome,” said Catherine Cosgrave, legal services manager of the council.