Religious ministers subject to new Irish visa rules
2018-05-15 11:34:54 -
  New visa rules aimed at restricting the number of immigrants moving to Ireland to work as religious ministers or volunteers have been announced by Government.
  Under the new rules, which took effect from 30 April, prospective applicants must pay a non-refundable fee of €100 to obtain pre-clearance before coming to Ireland.
  But any applicant who plans to stay for less than 90 days does not have to apply, while anyone already working in Ireland will be transferred to the new scheme.
  In a statement, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) said: “Permission to be a volunteer allows you to work in Ireland in a volunteering role with an eligible organisation for up to two years, with an option to extend for a third year, subject to the conditions.”
  Under the Minister of Religion permission, “qualifying religious personnel will be permitted to enter and remain in the State for up to three years, where there is a demonstrated need for their services and subject to compliance with all other immigration requirements that apply in individual cases.”
  Applicants must work for an established religious body in Ireland, with duties including conducting spiritual worship or other ceremonies, offering pastoral care by way of preaching, organising classes and overseeing prayer meetings, as well as providing spiritual leadership.
  Others include to carrying out pastoral visitation, ministering to the spiritual needs of members, providing substantial full-time senior administration support to the religious institution, or being a member of a religious community whose members take public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
  Successful applicants are not allowed to work as volunteers or to study unless such activity does not interfere with their primary role as minister, adding that spouses or partners and children under 18 are allowed to join them for the period of their permission to remain only.
  Specifically for third-country national requiring an entry visa, the INIS advises applicants for the Minister of Religion permission to apply for pre-clearance first, then apply for the visa online if successful.
  However, persons resident in countries where biometrics are recorded as part of the visa application process – such as China, India, Pakistan and Nigeria – must make their visa and pre-clearance applications at the same time.
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