Undocumented Pinoys in Ireland warned of coming regularization scheme

Vanda Marie Macion Brady

Posted at Jan 27 2022 03:35 AM | Updated as of Jan 27 2022 09:35 AM

Undocumented Filipinos have been paying unnecessary consultation fees in the hopes of becoming successful applicants to the scheme to become legal residents in Ireland. 

The historic regularization program of the Irish Department of Justice, which opens on January 31 and ends on July 31, only requires a non-refundable fee of 550 euros for single applications and 700 euros for family applications that should be paid upon submission online. There is no need to consult solicitors or immigration consultants, as the application process was developed in a way that it is easy to complete.

“Applicants don’t need a solicitor,” said Irene Jagoba of the Justice for the Undocumented (JFU) of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).

“There is no rush in making an application because it is open for 6 months, and there is no quota or a maximum number of applications.”

For free guidance, applicants may go to MRCI, which is organizing clinics and road shows across Ireland. They can contact 083 0755 387 or Jfu@mrci.ie, Jagoba added.

An undocumented Filipino worker herself, Jagoba will be one of the first applicants to try the scheme to learn how it works and share some advice with other volunteers and applicants. 

“Becoming a legal resident will transform our lives. It will allow us to live safely, stand up for our basic rights, go home and visit our family, and come back to Ireland to live and work in a normal life without fear. But we should apply for the scheme carefully,” she said.

Assistance was also provided by the Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom, POLO-OWWA, and Philippine Consulate in Dublin by providing emergency outreach missions to facilitate passport renewals and extensions and OWWA memberships for the undocumented during the pandemic. 

“We encourage the undocumented applicants to submit the requirements for the scheme themselves and not waste their money on unnecessary fees. If they need free assistance, they can go to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland,” said Philippine Honorary Consul Raymond Garrett. 

It is estimated that there are currently 15,000 to 17,000 undocumented people living in Ireland, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 of whom are thought to be children. 

The MRCI states that 93% of undocumented migrants are in work, including as many as 29% who work as carers. 

“It is hard to guess the exact number of undocumented Filipinos because some are only coming out now, and some have become legal residents already. But we do know that there are 570 undocumented Filipinos who campaign for the regularization scheme,” Jagoba added.

Applicants are urged to check the Irish Immigration website of the Department of Justice, where they can find all the information that they need and to only do payment transactions through the department. 

Please check the “Regularisation of Long Term Undocumented Migrants Scheme” at www.irishimmigration.ie.