287. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the length of the backlog in processing EU treaty rights reviews; the number of persons on the list for review; if the INIS is operating at full capacity in relation to processing these applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12833/20]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Helen McEntee): The EU Treaty Rights Review Unit of the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) of my Department processes review applications received from applicants who have been refused residence permits as family members of EU citizens exercising free movement rights in compliance with the requirements of EU Directive 2004/38/EC and the Free Movement of Persons Regulations 2015.
There is a significant number of review cases on hand arising from a sustained increase in applications since 2014. Currently, there are 2,283 cases awaiting processing at EU Treaty Rights review stage, of which 1,751 review applications (76%) have been awaiting a decision for over a year, with the oldest cases having been received in May 2017.
The work involved in assessing review applications is detailed and complex and often requires significant interaction with the applicant and other State bodies to ensure that the full set of facts are available to the deciding officer.
The ISD is committed to processing applications with the objective of achieving the highest possible level of efficiency for applicants, while at the same time, safeguarding the integrity of the State's immigration system. The ISD appreciates the impact of associated delays on the persons concerned and is undergoing an analysis of resources available to process these cases in a timely manner.
In addition, the restrictions arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic have also regrettably resulted in significant challenges to the delivery of normal services. As a result of these restrictions, the EU Treaty Rights Review Unit and ISD in general, along with many other public and private sector organisations are experiencing significant disruption in delivering core functions.
The EU Treaty Rights Review Unit continues to work within these restrictions, while recognising that public safety and the wellbeing of staff are both urgent priorities.