152. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding a visa application for a spouse and child to join with a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22445/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the applications referred to by the Deputy were received in the Abuja Visa Office on 20 August, 2018.
The Policy Document on Family Reunification, first published in December 2013 and amended in December 2016, contains a stated business target that visa applications to join Irish citizens should ideally be dealt with within six months of receipt of application. However, it should be noted that this is a business target and does not constitute a legal obligation. The business target reflects the detailed and often complex assessment that is required to be carried out in relation to applications for family reunification.
While INIS endeavours to have applications of this nature processed as quickly as possible, processing times for visas can vary based on a number of factors such as the number of applications under consideration at the time, individual circumstances of the applicant and the sponsor, the complexity of applications and whether further information or investigation is required, and the resources available. Any delays in achieving the business target are primarily related to the processing of more complex cases where the provision of additional documentation is requested or where detailed assessments of family rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights are required.
In this particular case, I am advised that additional investigation is required and due to the complexities of the case it will be some time before it is completed. Accordingly, I am not in a position at this time to indicate a precise date when a decision will be made.
The central concern, as with all visa services worldwide, in deciding on visa applications is to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the country's vital national interests by maintaining an effective immigration regime, while at the same time facilitating travel for those who meet the criteria. Each visa application is decided on its own merits taking all relevant factors into account.
The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.
In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to the Abuja Visa Office (