Belfast Telegraph

Residency rights concern revealed

Residency rights for the parents of Irish citizen children is the most common concern for migrants, it has emerged.

Almost 5,000 queries were made to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) in the first six months of the year, with 800 concerning a recent EU ruling.

The organisation revealed the court decision in March that a non-EU national parent of an EU citizen child has the right to reside and work in Europe had an immediate impact on its helpline.

Denise Charlton, chief executive, said it was a myth migrants were going home because of the recession.

"Far from demonstrating that they are leaving the country, our helpline statistics show that migrants are actively seeking to remain here and are increasingly concerned about the security of their immigration status," she said.

"While there is evidence that many EU nationals are returning to their country of origin, many migrants in Ireland are from a non-EU background and do not enjoy the same freedom of movement as EU nationals.

"Furthermore, they have invested considerable energy in establishing a life for themselves and their families here.

"The evidence from our helpline statistics overwhelmingly shows that, rather than leaving the state, many are doing all in their power to remain here, to remain in employment, and to continue to choose Ireland as their home."

Calls to the ICI helpline came from people of 137 different nationalities. The highest number of calls - 452 - was received by people from Nigeria, followed by those from India (379) and then Pakistan (152).

Most common concerns raised included the process for becoming an Irish citizen, renewal of status and work permits.

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