What is the immigration news? The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has launched a new immigration preclearance scheme for de facto partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders.

A de facto partner is an unmarried partner who has lived with a CSEP holder for at least the past two years in a relationship akin to marriage. Under the scheme, non-EEA de facto partners of CSEP holders will be required to obtain a preclearance letter before traveling to Ireland. While the change will add to the time it takes to travel to the country, but de facto partners of CSEP holders will, after arriving in Ireland and attending an in-person registration appointment, be granted Stamp 1G permission if requested, rather than Stamp 3 permission. This will allow them to work in Ireland without obtaining a separate employment permit.

  • Implementation: April 1.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA de facto partners of CSEP holders. The same preclearance procedure has also been put in place for de facto partners of non-EEA Researchers on a Hosting Agreement.
  • Processing: Applications for immigration preclearance will generally be decided within eight weeks, according to INIS.
  • What to Watch: The preclearance form is available here. It must be completed and sent to the preclearance section of the INIS visa division.

Additional information: Last month, INIS announced that spouses and de facto partners of CSEP holders would be able to obtain Stamp 1G immigration permission if requested. INIS has now provided guidance on how the process will work for de facto partners of CSEP holders who are coming to Ireland with their partner.

The new scheme applies to all non-EEA de facto partners of CSEP holders, whether they are from a visa-waived country or not. Visa-waived nationals will be required to present their preclearance letter of approval to an immigration officer upon arrival in Ireland. Most visa-required nationals will be required to obtain preclearance and then include their letter of approval in their visa application. Applicants from countries that require biometrics as part of the visa application process (currently China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan) should first file the preclearance application and then immediately proceed with the visa application, before the preclearance approval letter is issued.

Applicants and their sponsors will be required to provide a copy of their current and previous passports, police clearance certificates for every country in which they have resided for the past five years, bank statements, a detailed relationship history and evidence of contact, co-habitation, financial inter-dependence and health insurance. Applicants will additionally be required to provide evidence of fee payment, residence outside of Ireland and, if applicable, evidence of legal residence outside their country of citizenship. Sponsors will be required to provide a copy of their CSEP and employment contract as well as evidence of educational qualifications and work experience.

Additional information on the application requirements is available on this INIS site.

BAL Analysis: While the new scheme adds to the time it will take for de facto partners of CSEP holders to travel to Ireland, it will ultimately benefit both de facto partners and employers. Applicants who obtain preclearance and an entry visa (if required) will be able to work freely in Ireland once they register with the authorities after arriving in Ireland, and businesses will be able to employ them without needing to sponsor them for an employment permit.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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