Update from Aaron Flynn Solicitors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
Please note the following:
Aaron Flynn Solicitors remains open though the offices at the Mill Enterprise Centre are closed to the public save for essential deliveries and post. You can continue to book an appointment and consultation online here and I am available to assist my clients in Ireland and abroad during this challenging time. Travel restrictions and timing of applications for permits and visas are becoming increasingly complex by the day so please get in touch if you have any concerns.
INIS has announced updated COVID-19 measures for customers of the Department of Justice and Equality's Immigration Service Delivery Function
Registration of immigration permissions at Burgh Quay will proceed as normal using a streamlined process designed to minimise the amount of time applicants need to spend in the office. In that regard, applicants must not bring family members or friends with them for registration, unless required to do so as part of the verification process, as this increases overall risks;
Where an English language school has closed due to Government advice regarding Covid-19, all international students will be considered to have met their attendance requirement for the shutdown period. All other rules will remain in place and students will be required to renew their registrations as usual;
Applicants for international protection should continue to report as normal to the International Protection Office in Mount Street where initial processing will take place. This will enable follow on services to be provided;
Alternative arrangements are being put in place for renewal of Temporary Residence Cards for international protection applicants which means they will not be required to present in person until further notice;
Interviews of international protection applicants has been suspended until further notice at the International Protection Office;
Similarly, Tribunal Hearings at the International Protection Appeals Tribunal have been suspended until further notice;
Appropriate contingency arrangements are in place for persons residing in the Direct Provision system and in emergency accommodation;
The normal service of immigration control at Dublin Airport continues with appropriate measures to protect staff in place.
The DBEI has released some useful contingency planning guides for small businesses which can be found here. In addition the DBEI has indicated that in light of the Government measures adopted that they will be operating as follows:
Prioritising all medical employment permits.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a public health emergency of international concern.
The Employment Permits service is considered a vital part of the jigsaw in keeping the economy moving and in ensuring that key medical staff are available for our health services at this critical juncture as the country tackles this emerging situation.
As such, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has begun the process of expediting all applications for employment permits for medical staff in our processing queue. It is expected that this process will take approximately a week to complete and, as a result, there will be some impacts on the timelines for the processing of all other employment permit applications.
The Department will notify Trusted Partners when this process has been completed.
Employment Permits has a contingency plan in place for dealing with this public health emergency.
Currently our offices are functioning as normal. In the event of a slowdown, or a shut down, this office will be able to continue to carry out its priority work such as processing employment permits and carrying out reviews. At some stage it may not be possible to print and distribute employment permits, if this happens the Department will update all stakeholders informing them of its solution.
EU Entry Ban
The EU Commission has presented guidelines on to Member States on health-related border management measures in the context of the COVID-19 emergency.
People identified as at risk of spreading COVID-19 should have access to appropriate health care, either in the country of arrival or in the country of departure, and this should be coordinated between the two.
It is possible to submit everyone entering the national territory to health checks without formal introduction of internal border controls. The difference between normal health checks and border controls is the possibility to deny entry to individual persons.
Member States may reintroduce internal border controls for reasons of public policy, which, in extremely critical situations, may include public health. Such border controls should be organised to prevent the emergence of large gatherings (e.g. queues), which risk increasing the spread of the virus. Member States should coordinate to carry out health screening on one side of the border only.
Ireland has yet to decide whether to take part in this entry ban. A government spokesman said: "Ireland will consider participation [in the EU travel ban] in the context of the Common Travel Area and in consultation with the UK".
The UK has introduced a stimulus package to assist UK businesses through the crisis and now advises against all non-essential worldwide travel.
Courts Services Ireland
The Courts Services in Ireland has announced scaled back actions which should provide some assistance to timing of applications and Court challenges which must ordinarily be brought in strict compliance with the Courts Rules.
Aaron Flynn Solicitors Analysis
Given the pace of developments and commitments by the Government authorities to continue to process applications albeit with a focus on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic it is essential to check the current position before considering any travel or decisions on employment matters. It is likely that developments will continue rapidly and predicting how to proceed will be a challenge.
Please contact Aaron Flynn Solicitors if you wish to discuss any matter dealt with above.