Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More yoga breathing necessary...

...and not for a good reason this time. I have just about had it with the Department of Justice and the immigration people. I tried not to write about it, because it makes me dish-throwingly, wall-punchingly angry whenever I even think too much about it, but it's now gone way beyond ridiculous. This is going to be a long rant.

I'm allowed to come into Ireland because I'm married to an EU national. Now, the actual EU law (Directive 2004/38/EC) gives me a host of other rights: residency, permission to work, etc., etc., but Ireland has basically chosen to completely ignore all that. According to the Irish authorities, this is all I'm allowed to do: enter the country.

I've applied for residency and permission to work via their EU1 form, but the DoJ has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to require that all couples applying under this Directive have lived in another EU country first. Otherwise, no deal. You read that correctly. If you are an Irish national, of course you're allowed to bring in your family. If you're a work permit holder from anywhere else, you are allowed to bring your family into the country, and, in fact, they are allowed to work. If you are an EU citizen? No dice. How this can possibly be in line with EU freedom of movement laws and basic human rights laws is beyond me. It means if you're a non-Irish EU citizen, you are not allowed to marry a non-EU citizen and have your family come live with you. Full stop. They've been denying the EU1's of many couples because they can't show prior residency in another EU state. Of course, they do this after 9-10 months of deliberation and fucking around, despite the EU law saying it should take no more than 6 months. In another week or so, my six months will be up. I don't expect a decision so soon, of course.

From searching around the internet, I've found lots of people in this situation. People from Japan, South Africa, Brazil. It doesn't help that no part of the Irish administration knows what the other parts are doing. Lots of these people called up embassies beforehand, and even called up the immigration department here in Dublin. They were told: Oh, yes, come on over, if one of you is an EU citizen, the family has a right to live and work in Ireland. So they pull the kids out of school, pack up, sell the house, use their savings to move the family half-way around the world, only to arrive and be told, Oh, wait, no...you can't live here.

After several months of banging my head against the brick wall that is the DoJ (their phone lines are open 6 hours a week, and are perpetually busy before they hang up on you; and their website achieves the amazing feat of holding not one piece of useful information in all its dozens of pages), I gave up. There were few jobs for me here anyway, so I looked in the UK and we planned on moving over there. The Limey is British, of course, so we can always enter under UK immigration laws.

Except...except, the Irish DoJ has still managed to fuck this up for me! You see, they won't stamp the passports of those people waiting for EU1 processing. They won't give me a GNIB card. They won't give me any proof that I am a legal resident of this country. I'm in a weird immigration limbo. The Limey and I went over to the UK in March, and when we came back into Dublin, it took half an hour to convince the immigration officer at Dublin airport that I was really allowed into the country. What has really just totally blew me away recently, though, is that, since the Irish immigration people won't give me proof of residency, I can't apply for a UK visa from Dublin. I have to go back to the US to do it. The British embassy here will only process applications from those who are legally resident in Ireland, but I can't prove my residency! EU law says I'm legally resident, but since the Irish DoJ prefers to leave us in limbo, I'm screwed on this matter.

I just cannot believe how absolutely fucked up this is. How can any first world country behave in such a cavalier matter towards immigration issues, and how can a whole government department be run so haphazardly?! I rant and rail, but there's nothing to do it at. Like I said, the DoJ is a brick wall. There's virtually no way of actually reaching anyone in it. Even if you could, they refuse to do anything and pounding against the brick wall hurts only yourself. I'm so totally tired of this situation; I've completely run out of patience; I'm so angry and upset, and it's salt in the wound to not even know who I could be properly upset at.


Worsted_knitt said...

Oh dear. That is totally crap, but I guess you'd know that :/ I'm really sorry for the situation! Have you tried contacting the EU? They seem to be more helpful in these issues that the Irish authorities.

jacqueline said...

so, I'm guessing the housewife persona is just not suiting you? for shame.

Sharon in Ireland/NZ said...

I know you shouldn't have to do this and it may even lead to more frustration but have you considered approaching your local politician? - most run clinics at the weekend , if you outline your problem to him/her they may be able to make some inroads in the system for you. Sorry that's all I can think of. What a crap situation to be in.

Averil said...

I know I am just echoing the comments of the other posters, but how crap! I feel really bad for you. It was difficult enough getting a residency card here in Spain as an EU citizen (8 months, endless queues, paperwork and time off work...) and that as I said was as an EU citizen! The thing here is that I don´t officially need it, as I am a resident of the EU, but you can´t function in everyday life without it. Catch 22 situation. I cant think of any good advice to give you, but maybe as worsted knitt said to bypass the Irish authorities and contact the EU?

And it must be a double blow after the good news in the previous post. Good luck with the interview this week. I´ll be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Check this website


where loads of ppl with the same sh*t are exchanging their ideas.

If you are barred from working, which is illegal, you can claim compensation.

You will find all you need to know in the forum.

Good luck :)

Nicola said...

Crappity crap crap. What a story. AND I've a friend who is an EU citizen and who has approval from her own national govenment to adopt a child (from a nono-EU country) BUT the DoJ won't allow the child to be resident in Ireland even tho' the Mum has lived and worked here for 20 years. She had to go through a 5+ year process to get approval to adopt from the Irish authoritites.

Crazy, huh?