529. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is aware of the delays experienced by users of the Garda National Immigration Bureau; her plans to address these delays; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20731/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I assume the Deputy is referring to the services provided by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) public office in Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.
The GNIB provides registration functions for all Non-EEA persons who intend to reside in the State for longer than 90 days. These functions are provided from the Burgh Quay offices in respect of the Dublin Metropolitan Region. The office also provides a range of other immigration related services with approximately 130,000 people per annum attending in person at the office. These include applications for re-entry visas administered by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department which are issued to visa-required nationals resident in Ireland to ensure they can return to this State after leaving the jurisdiction for visit purposes. This office is probably one of the busiest Public Offices with some of the longest opening times in the State.
The nature of the services provided is such that it is demand led and accordingly, there are peaks and valleys in the numbers of callers at different times of the year. For the purpose of the efficient processing of the registration of up to five-hundred people who attend at this registration office every day, GNIB personnel who are employed there operate a shift system, which ensures it is open from 8am to 9pm each Monday to Thursday and 8am to 6pm each Friday (excluding bank holidays) and remains open through lunchtime. A numbered ticket issuing system is operated at this registration office, to ensure that those attending are dealt with on a 'first come first served' basis. In addition those attending are advised of the approximate time that they will be dealt with, which allows them to leave the office and return at the appropriate time if they so wish. A GNIB officer is also deployed to meet with each person on arrival at the office to ensure that they are in possession of all of the necessary documentation required for registration, so that unnecessary delays are avoided. Specific times are set aside for certain categories of persons such as students. Indeed, for the peak student period in autumn last year the office opened on Saturdays. Tickets are not issued to non-nationals whose registration relates to their presence in Ireland for study related purposes until after 9am so as to facilitate those non-nationals whose permission to reside in the State is work related.
In addition, the GNIB with the assistance of the Garda Press Office has recently established a Garda website notification system for the purpose of assisting persons who are required to attend at Burgh Quay for registration. On three separate occasions during each day an announcement is posted on the Garda Website alerting customers to the number of available tickets remaining at the Burgh Quay public office for that day.
It is a requirement of the registration function that persons seeking to register present in person to their local registration office. This is necessary for establishment of identity and as an anti-fraud measure and is the practice of immigration services worldwide. The registration process includes an interview with the person, the examination of relevant documentation, photographing and biometric capture and the issuing of a registration certificate. It also includes the placing of the appropriate permission to remain endorsement on the passport of the person concerned. It should also be noted that for most persons, renewal of their registration is at most a yearly requirement and that for the majority of customers the GNIB provides a 'same day service at its Burgh Quay office.
The Deputy will be aware that a major reform of the delivery of immigration services is underway including the transfer of registration functions from the GNIB to the INIS. This presents opportunities to streamline both registration and visa re-entry services and INIS is working on introducing on-line services as part of this process including a booking system for appointments.