693. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Justice if the visa process for medical professionals who have job offers in health settings here and who are engaging with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service can be expedited given the serious need for medical staff nationally. [12669/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The strong advice is that everyone, regardless of their nationality or visa/preclearance status, or where they started their travel from, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland.
In support of the ongoing travel restrictions, effective from close of business on 29 January 2021, my Department has taken the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa/preclearance applications. However we continue to accept Priority/Emergency categories. Visa applications for medical professionals with job offers do meet the criteria for an Emergency application and are currently being processed on an expedited basis. Processing times for these applications can vary due to the complexity of the individual application. However, every effort is being made to issue a decision on each application as soon as possible.