162. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice if the immigration system will be reformed to protect the victims and survivors of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence who are placed at additional risk given their residency is based on being a dependent or due to the fact they are undocumented. [57977/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): My Department has put in place Victims of Domestic Violence Immigration Guidelines. The Guidelines rightly state that no one should have to suffer domestic violence and recognise that migrants may have additional vulnerability in this area, as the perpetrator may threaten a victim with the loss of their status if they report the abuse.
For a person who is the victim of domestic abuse and whose permission to be in the State is linked to their partner, the issue of their status will be dealt with sensitively by the immigration authorities and each case will be assessed on an individual basis. I would urge anyone in this situation to approach my Department for advice and assistance and I can assure any victim of abuse that they will be supported and protected .
I would also encourage them to reach out for help as soon as it is safe to do so. They can contact the Women’s Aid Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900. The Helpline can access interpretation and can provide information on support services throughout Ireland.
In line with the Immigration Guidelines, an application may be made from inside the State by a person whose immigration status as the dependent of an Irish or foreign national is valid. If the permission is not currently valid, the person may still make an application.
One of the standard conditions of an immigration permission granted in the State, is that the holder must be of good character and engaging in domestic violence would not be in line with this condition and could lead to the revocation or non-renewal of the perpetrator’s own immigration status.
As the Deputy will be aware, 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. 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.