By Saskia Joreen
The Irish Minister for Justice and Law Reform has tabled amendments to the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill that provide for equal treatment between married couples and civil partners in immigration law.
Eoin Collins, Director of Policy Change at GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) said:
This is a very important advance and will help deliver greater security for same-sex couples worried about separation due to immigration difficulties.Inclusion of civil partners in immigration law will build on progress already made, especially since 2008, in providing recognition for same-sex couples in immigration regulations. In provisions for people in de facto relationships, non EU same-sex partners of Irish or EU nationals are now entitled to apply for permission to remain in the State on the basis of their relationship.
GLEN strongly welcomes the amendments proposed by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform which are in line with commitments he made at the advancement and enactment of civil partnership legislation.Concern over the immigration status of a partner is one of the issues most frequently raised by callers to GLEN over the past 5 years. These callers have included Irish people seeking to return from the US, Canada and other countries but concerned that their same-sex partner would be excluded from living and working in Ireland or even excluded from entering the country.
GLEN also welcomes the amendments by Alan Shatter and Lucinda Creighton of Fine Gael to provide for inclusion of civil partners. This again reflects the support of all parties for legal recognition of same-sex couples as shown in the debates and final enactment of civil partnership.
The calls to GLEN have also included many lesbian and gay people in long-term committed relationships in Ireland with partners from outside the EU concerned that their partner’s permission to live in the State might not be renewed and that they might both have to leave as a result.