Immigration and Asylum Law Briefing - April 2019

Changes to 'critical skills' regime will enable spouses and partners to work

On 6 March 2019, the Government introduced changes which will make it easier for partners of non-EU workers with Criticial Skills Employment Permits (CSEP) to also get work here.

The CSEP has been designed to attract skilled individuals to come live and work in Ireland, particularly in areas where there is high demand that is not being met by the Irish/European labour market. 

Under the current process, a non-EEA individual who is the partner of a CSEP holder would have to seek a dependant spouse employment permit on the basis of Stamp 3 permission - only after a job offer has been made.

The new regime will grant eligible spouses and partners of CSEP holders permission to proceed on a Stamp 1 basis, which gives individuals unbridled access to the labour market without needing to obtain an employment permit themselves.

A press release issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation states:

'Ireland is competing with other knowledge economies for talent. For this reason, in tandem with the Government's work to ensure that the domestic workforce has the appropriate skillsets now and into the future, it continues to drive strategies to attract highly skilled foreign nationals into the State to take up jobs that companies are finding hard to fill.'

Minister Humphreys welcomed the change, noting that 'this is about ensuring Ireland's continued competitiveness as a place in which to live, work and invest'. Minister Flanagan commended the 'proactive and positive engagement' between government departments, without which this policy change wouldn't have been possible.

For more on this, please see the Murdoch and Hunt entry on employment permits.



Vishteh v Minister for Justice and Equality [2019] IEHC 131

The applicant here was an embassy employee who sought a declaration of certiorari in respect of a decision made by the defendant to reject his request for naturalisation.

Barrett J, while acknowledging the 'Minister's wide discretion in the area of naturalisation', commented that 'he cannot take decisions that are, on their face, irrational' - to do so would be to allow him to 'proceed arbitrarily, capriciously, autocratically'.

The core issue here was that the applicant could not provide a letter from the embassy detailing the dates which he worked there to 'vouch' his application. It is not contended that Mr Vishteh is at fault for failing to provide the letter.

The gist of this decision was that the Minister should not be entitled to seek the impossible and as such, a purposive method of interpretation was warranted. 

In conclusion, an order of certiorari was granted quashing the decision. The court also issued a declaration that 'it is not a condition to an application made pursuant to s. 15 that a person lawfully resident in Ireland by virtue of a diplomatic mission may only demonstrate reckonable evidence in the form of a bespoke letter'.

The court also held that in instances where, through no fault of the applicant, certain evidence cannot be produced, the Minister shall be bound to consider the 'totality of the evidence before him'.

Read the judgment in full here.



Surge in British solicitors joining Irish roll as fears of a Brexodus rise

According to a report in the Irish Times from Monday, a Brexit-driven surge in UK lawyers joining the Irish rolls of solicitors has attained 'record levels', with over 1200 seeking admission in 2019 alone. 

Making up 2,770 out of a total of 19,315, UK-based solicitors now account for a substantial portion of all solicitors on the Irish roll. While it is not the case that every single one of these UK solicitors has taken out a practising certificate and is actively involved in legal practice in Ireland - indeed, less than 250 have - these numbers are reflective of tentative steps towards a potential Brexodus. 

As we outlined last week in our Brexit Briefing, senior legal figures like Chief Justice Frank Clarke have since 2018 been speaking up Ireland's potential to take over a lot of legal work which may be diverted from the UK if a no-deal occurs in the absence of agreements which would iron out the enforceability of UK decisions in the EU post-Brexit. 



Note: This is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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