335. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the processing of applications under the special scheme for non-EEA nationals that held a student permission (details supplied); the number of applications made; the number of applications processed; when the processing is planned to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30635/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the Special Scheme for Students was launched on 15 October, 2018 and closed to new applications on 20 January, 2019.  INIS received approximately 3,100 applications comprising former students and their family members.  To date, INIS has made a decision in approximately 1,800 cases.  INIS has also made a decision in approximately 100 applications for review of a decision to refuse permission under the scheme.
The Deputy will appreciate that it is necessary to process such applications in compliance with legal requirements and in accordance with the Scheme criteria.  I am assured that INIS continues to optimise available resources, including the provision of overtime, with the overarching objective of delivering decisions to all applicants under the scheme as soon as possible.