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The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. New Immigration Guidelines for Victims of Domestic Violence

 

New Immigration Guidelines for Victims of Domestic Violence

 

The Irish Nationalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has published guidelines on how the Irish immigration system deals with cases of domestic violence where the victim is a foreign national whose immigration status is currently derived from or dependant on that of the perpetrator.  The key element is to offer the victim an avenue to obtain independent immigration status is his/her own right.  The guidelines set out the options that people have in these circumstances.  

It is entirely understandable that persons suffering domestic violence may be afraid to come forward for fear of losing their immigration permission in Ireland and being sent home.  It may well be the case that the perpetrator will use this to discourage the victim from reporting the abuse or from leaving the family home. 

The message from INIS is that domestic violence should always be reported and a foreign national does not have to remain in an abusive relationship in order to preserve their entitlement to remain in Ireland. 

INIS will consider each case on its merits.  INIS requires as much information as possible to make a decision.  The application for independent status as a victim of domestic violence should set out details of the domestic violence suffered and make a request for independent immigration status.   Any relevant family circumstances, especially whether there are any children involved, should be disclosed.  

The sort of supporting material INIS looks for to establish that domestic violence is being suffered would include Protection Orders; Safety Orders or Barring Orders from the Courts; medical reports; Garda incident reports; a letter from a State body such as the HSE; a letter of support from a domestic violence support organisation etc. 

Generally the immigration status granted would be at the same level as that which was previously held as a dependant.  The main difference is that this status is no longer dependent on the spouse or partner and that person will have no say in whether the applicant is permitted to stay in Ireland. Where it becomes necessary for the victim to work to support themselves or family members lawfully residing in the State, this can be granted. 

INIS can only deal with immigration status.  Any issues relating to entitlement to state services remain matters for individual Government Departments or service providers. 

 Click here for a link to the guidelines on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.