Cathaoirleach hits out at long wait times for immigrant visa renewal

Cllr Azad 'Jackie' Talukder, Limerick's first Muslim Cathaoirleach of the Metropolitan District. Photo: Alan Jacques.

FIANNA Fáil councillor, and Cathaoirleach of the Limerick Metropolitan District, Azad Talukder has called for the local authority to write to Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin and urge him to reduce waiting times for those who have to wait three months or more to renew their Irish Residency Permit (IRP) card.

Cllr Talukder also wants his party leader to recruit additional staff to ease the backlog. Delays in renewing visas, he says, are impacting the working lives of doctors and nurses as well as causing them mental stress which affects their ability to perform their jobs properly.

“Since Covid-19, non-EU nationals from outside of European Union and European Economic Area have to wait three months on average to renew their Irish Residency card. This is impacting non-EU/EEA nationals from Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America, as well as immigrants from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, etc.,” the Metropolitan Cathaoirleach stated.

“Many of them are working in the health sector, multinational companies, hospitality, and many other sectors.

Long wait times, he continued, are also impacting international university and college students and those who come to Ireland for a shorter period to complete English language courses.

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“International students and other working professionals need to visit their home countries for various reasons, including emergency situations. So that is a long three-month waiting period for non-EU nationals stopped from leaving the State, no matter what the emergency.

“In some cases, they cannot even visit home if a family member falls sick or cannot attend their loved one’s funeral.”

The City West representative went on to say that all non-EU nationals who have entered the State must register with a local National Immigration Bureau office within 90 days of arrival but face a waiting time of 12 to 14 weeks.

“Local officers are trying their best to deliver service promptly. We just need to change the long waiting timeframe to shorter waiting time,” Cllr Talukder concluded.