Ministers announce new immigration reform measures
Last updated on
Last updated on
The Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD, and the Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne TD, have today announced a new suite of immigration reform measures for the benefit of our customers.
In line with a commitment in Justice Plan 2021, a new customer-focused website, www.irishimmigration.ie, has been developed as part of the department’s ongoing digitisation strategy. Speaking about the importance of the new website, Minister Humphreys said:
"My department is committed to meeting the needs of people who use our immigration services in a customer-friendly, open and accessible way. The new customer-focused website has been developed to provide up-to-date information to help people prepare and plan for their journey to Ireland. The easy to navigate website provides practical information in plain English and will be a welcome support for the thousands of people who go online every day to seek information about coming to Ireland to visit, to study, to work, to live or to join family.
"The website, which went live at the end of July, has been visited by almost 3,000 people every day since. It has been designed and developed around the customer journey, ensuring that people get the information they need quicker and in a more accessible way. The new website contains multi-lingual video content and it is also mobile-friendly, giving people greater choice of how they access information. It is a positive example of our commitment to instilling a digital first culture for our immigration services."
Complementing the rollout of the new website, a Digitisation Strategy for our Immigration Services has been published and can be viewed at: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/publication-of-the-digitisation-strategy-for-irish-immigration-services. This delivers on a Justice Plan 2021 commitment and marks the beginning of our commitment to transition from paper-based and labour intensive processes to efficient, robust and customer– centric frontline immigration services, in line with our Digital First policy.
One of the most important roles performed by the department is examining the claims of people who arrive in Ireland to seek international protection. The Ministers are committed to implementing the key recommendations in the Expert Advisory Group Report to reduce processing times of both first instance decisions and appeals to 6 months respectively, as outlined in the White Paper to End Direct Provision and Establish a New International Protection Support Service.
The Report of the Expert Advisory Group, published last October, also recommended that an end-to-end review of all international protection processes should be carried out. That work, overseen by a high-level Programme Board in the department, has now been completed.
Welcoming the completion of the review, Minister Browne said:
"We are committed to treating those who seek refuge on our shores, or to make a new home for themselves in ours, with dignity and respect. Our objective is to have decisions made on international protection applications and permission to remain considerations as soon as possible. This ensures that those who are found to be in need of our protection can receive it quickly and begin rebuilding their lives here with a sense of safety and security.
"The review examined the international protection processes in both the International Protection Office and the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. Its findings and recommendations for reform will help us to improve efficiencies within those processes and support our goal of reducing overall processing times for international protection, in line with our commitments under the White Paper.
"I want to thank those applicants, past and present, who participated in the review and who shared their experiences with us. I also want to acknowledge the staff in the IPO and the IPAT, and the IPAT Tribunal Members, who participated wholeheartedly with the review and whose dedication and professionalism is specifically called out in the report."
The White Paper proposes that the new system should be phased in and operational by 2024 and that the intervening period should provide an opportunity to progress improvements in the overall processing times for international protection. A number of initiatives have already been introduced, including additional investment in IT; the relocation of the Ministerial Decisions Unit to the IPO premises to improve work processes; the designation of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal as a body authorised to hold remote hearings; and the holding of virtual interviews with some applicants living outside of Dublin.
The department is committed to implementing the key recommendations in the Expert Advisory Group Report to reduce processing times of both first instance decisions and appeals to 6 months respectively, as outlined in the White Paper to end Direct Provision and establish a New International Protection Support Service.
The White Paper proposes that the new system should be phased in and operational by 2024 and that the intervening period should provide an opportunity to progress improvements in the overall processing times for international protection.