149. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice if she will report on progress on a scheme to regularise undocumented persons; if she will consider time while documented as reckonable time to be eligible for the scheme; if the scheme will be subject to ministerial discretion for regularisation of individual applications or be given as a right if criteria are met; if time while undocumented counts towards reckonable time for citizenship applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57951/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): 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.
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.