Undocumented Regularisation Scheme 2022:
Out of the shadows and into the light
No human being is illegal. Yet many still live in the legal shadows in Ireland. Thousands of integrated, upstanding, law-abiding and hardworking migrants who call Ireland their home, who have children, family, pets. Who have similar hopes and dreams to you, enjoy socialising, embrace Irish culture and society, are different to you in one key aspect of life – they live in fear, with an omnipresent sense of being vulnerable.
There are as many ways to find yourself undocumented as there are undocumented individuals, everyone has a story. Most of these stories are of normal people coming to Ireland to experience a new culture, to discover a vibrant and thriving, progressive, proud European nation. To develop as young adults, learn a new language, get ahead in life, and then for circumstances to change, often suddenly, for reasons outside of their control, leaving them stranded, with little or no options, unable to return “home” because they have made Ireland their home, and feel helpless, with a complete unwillingness to return to their former life, which is no longer there for them.
Undocumented migrants don’t want to break the law, they want to do the right thing, but being undocumented does not inspire confidence. They feel vulnerable, and so tend to keep a low profile, always under the vague threat of being exposed and deported at any moment. This is no way to live.
Mercifully, the Department of Justice have announced the launch of a compassionate and welcome opportunity for the 26,000 or so undocumented migrants living in Ireland. 26,000 may not seem like a lot, but one life means everything! Now these people are finally being acknowledged for their contribution to society.
It is estimated that regularisation has the potential to generate financial resources through labour, tax and fees. So it is self-evident that the regularisation scheme is not only the right thing to do, but the best thing to do.
Your Rights’ first client was an undocumented woman seeking help.
In April of 2021 we were honoured to be in the first of several webinars held by the Department of Justice, to flesh out protocols, eligibility criteria, and how the scheme could and should look, exploring every aspect, every possible pitfall and stumbling block, loopholes and restrictions.
As a stakeholder in the legislation we were able to provide our first hand experience with the Brazilian migrant community in Ireland. We work with Brazilian nationals in a personalised and friendly way, face-to-face, getting to know the context, life situation, family and friendship relations, hopes, dreams and fears of each migrant. This insight allowed us to suggest a flexible approach to eligibility regarding time criteria, to take each case on its own individual merits.
However, nothing is perfect, and we must be grateful for small mercies, in this case, regularisation improves the quality of life, eases fear, increases self-esteem and suddenly the world of opportunity opens up for decent normal person, who were previously living in the shadows.