Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 03 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Immigration Policy.

  129. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the claims made by the Immigrant Council of Ireland that Government immigration policies are anti-family and causing heartache; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27257/04]

  Mr. McDowell:I understand that the Immigrant Council of Ireland’s comments relate primarily to migrant workers in Ireland. In this regard, Irish policy on family reunification is broadly in compliance with international standards and operates in the following manner. There is no general policy of restriction in operation in relation to family reunion where the family members in question are not visa required. The only caveat is that the worker in question must be in a position to support the family without recourse to public funds. The spouses and children of the vast majority of foreign workers in the State fall into this category. There are restrictions on family reunion for visa required family members since in general terms persons from visa required countries pose the greater immigration related risks.

In the case of visa required family members of non-EEA national workers, the general rule is that it is only after the worker has been in the State for 12 months and has been offered employment for a further 12 months that the worker may be joined by his or her family. Again, this is subject to the worker being able to support the family without recourse to public funds.

In 2000, the aforementioned 12 month waiting period was reduced to three months by my predecessor in the case of the family members of workers operating in certain specified high skill areas covered by the working visa programme.

The considerations underpinning this policy in the case of visa required family members is to ensure that the worker’s presence in Ireland has a degree of stability and is likely to be for the longer term. Our practice avoids a family joining a worker whose employment relationship is not yet up and running and where that relationship may prove to be short term.