Immigration Arrangements for Lay Volunteers

 

Please Note: These arrangements are under review and will be revised shortly.

 

Immigration Arrangements for Lay Volunteers with effect from 1 January 2011

Who is a Lay Volunteer?
For immigration purposes, and under these arrangements,a "lay volunteer" is a person who is undertaking voluntary work, which may or may not involve a payment, for an organisation such as a charity, religious institution/order/church or other voluntary organisation. The nature of the voluntary work and/or the employer/employee relationship must not be eligible for employment permits. The person may receive a stipend or other financial support from the employer organisation. The person must not be dependent on the State for support.

The person concerned must not be engaged in activities which would be contrary to national security, public security or public order or be contrary to public policy ("ordre public").

These arrangements do not confer on any person a right of entry to and residence in Ireland. Each case will be examined on its merits.

1. Transitional arrangements

Persons who are in the State as lay volunteers currently hold immigration Stamp 3:

Those persons who were lawfully present in the State prior to 1 January 2011 can have their permission to remain in Ireland renewed for a further 12 months when it next comes up for renewal.  Subject to meeting the conditions in paragraph 2 below, only persons in this category will be given a further 12 months renewal of their immigration permission for subsequent years.

 

2. Renewal  conditions
In order to renew immigration permission the persons concerned must meet all of the following conditions:

(a) The person is continuing only to perform duties as a lay volunteer for which he/she was initially allowed to enter the State. It should be noted by the person concerned that employment outside of the sponsoring organisation i.e. in the general labour market is not permitted.

(b) The person has not been and will not be an undue burden on the State. A person who is not in receipt of financial or other relevant support from their sponsoring organisation or is not financially independent may be refused further permission to remain.

(c) The person has private medical insurance to cover him/herself. The medical insurance cover may be taken out personally by the person concerned or be part of a group scheme organised by the sponsoring organisation.

(d) The person is fully supported by the sponsoring organisation from the point of view of their needs in the State e.g. for accommodation, finance and general upkeep.

(e) There are no concerns about the person in terms of an adverse Garda record or other concerns related to national security, public security, public order or public policy ("ordre public").

 

3. Persons seeking permission to enter Ireland on or after 1 January 2011 as Lay Volunteers


Visa required nationals:
Where a person requires an Irish visa the following documentation must be submitted with the visa application.

 

        (a) Valid passport with at least 6 months to run on it from date of entry to the State,

and

(b) An original letter on headed paper of sponsorship from the sponsoring organisation confirming that:

there is a genuine position available for the person concerned and the duration of that position,

and

the person is fully supported by the sponsoring organisation from the point of view of their needs in the State e.g. for accommodation, finance and general upkeep,

and

that the volunteer role or position the person is filling is the sole purpose of their stay in Ireland.

Note: The original letter from the sponsoring organisation must state the nature and function of the organisation whether by reference to its Articles of Association or otherwise and where it is a registered charity detail of such registration.

 

Each visa application will be assessed on its merits. It is the responsibility of the applicant to satisfy the visa officer as to why the visa should issue. There can be no guarantee that these arrangements will result in the granting of a visa. The onus rests with the applicant and/or the sponsoring organisation that the person concerned is a lay volunteer in accordance with the general definition set out above. Applications are dealt with on a case by case basis.

 

Non-visa required nationals:
A person who is a non-visa required national, on seeking entry to the State, must present the documentation above (as for a visa required national) to the immigration officer at the port of entry.  Possession of these documents is not a guarantee that entry permission will be granted.  That is a decision to be made by the immigration officer concerned at the port of entry.  It is the responsibility of the person concerned to satisfy the immigration officer as to why permission to enter the State should be given.

 

4. Persons granted permission to enter Ireland on or after 1 January 2011 as Lay Volunteers

Lay volunteers who are permitted to enter Ireland on or after 1 January 2011 will be permitted to remain for a maximum of 3 years. Immigration permission, if granted, will be for 12 months at a time.  Immigration Stamp 3 will be issued. There will no extensions of time allowed.

The following conditions will apply to the grant and renewal of permission to reside in the State for those persons arriving on or after 1 January 2011:

 

(a) The person is continuing only to carry out duties his/her capacity as a volunteer for which he/she was initially allowed to enter the State. It should be noted by the person concerned that employment outside of the sponsoring organisation i.e. in the general labour market is not permitted.

(b) The person has not been and will not be an undue burden on the State. The person can have permission to remain only on the basis that he or she is supported by the sponsoring organisation and will not need to rely on State financial support while in the State. 

(c) The person has private medical insurance to cover him/herself. The medical insurance cover may be taken out personally by the person concerned or come within a group scheme organised by the sponsoring organisation. At each renewal evidence of private medical insurance for the previous and the following years will be required

(d) There are no concerns about the person in terms of an adverse Garda record or other concerns related to national security, public security, public order or public policy ("ordre public").

 

Note: Where permission to enter the State under these arrangements is granted for the first time on or after 1 January 2011 such permission  will be for 12 months at a time - for a maximum for 3 years. Extensions of time beyond 3 years are not permitted.

 

5. Family Re-unification for Lay Volunteers entering the State for the first time after 1 January 2011
Family re-unification is not allowed while the person is a lay volunteer in the State.

 

Important Note:

It is the responsibility of every non-EEA national to keep their immigration permission up to date at all times.

 

15 December 2010

 

Amended 09 January 2015/