Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Justice the status of proposals to regularise undocumented migrants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53995/21]
514. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Justice the breakdown of undocumented migrants living in each county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53996/21]
515. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Justice the way statistics regarding the number of undocumented migrants are ascertained; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53997/21]
516. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Justice the supports in place to assist undocumented migrants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53998/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I propose to take Questions Nos. 513 to 516, inclusive, together.
The Government committed to introducing new pathways to status regularisation within 18 months of its formation. My Justice Plan 2021 contains a commitment to create new pathways for long-term undocumented people and their dependents who must meet specified criteria to regularise their status.
The scheme will provide an opportunity for those who meet its criteria to remain and reside in the State and to become part of mainstream Irish society rather than living on its margins. Successful applicants will receive an immigration permission, access to the labour market and will be able to begin the process of becoming Irish citizens, should they wish to do so. The objective is to ensure that the scheme is as inclusive as possible and my Department has conducted a targeted consultation on the proposed scheme which has provided a valuable opportunity to hear from those affected by the proposed approach to the scheme.
Following the consultation process, my Department continues to work to finalise the details, including eligibility considerations and qualifying criteria, and also to design and manage the practical aspects to enable applications to be made and processed as efficiently as possible. The specific qualifying criteria will be guided by, among other things, the learning from previous regularisation schemes, such as the 2018 Student Scheme, and schemes operated by other EU Member States.
We are now working to finalise the details for the scheme, including eligibility considerations and qualifying criteria, with a view to bringing a proposal to Government and to publish the details of the scheme before the end of this year.
It is not possible for my Department to quantify the number of undocumented migrants living in the State. Such persons do not ordinarily make themselves known to immigration officials or to other authorities of the State.
The Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland (MRCI) has previously provided my officials with a report estimating that there are some 15,000 to 17,000 undocumented people in the State, including 2,000 to 3,000 children. However, the estimates put forward by the MRCI are not official statistics. Question No. 514 answered with Question No. 513. Question No. 515 answered with Question No. 513. Question No. 516 answered with Question No. 513.