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Pre-clearance system to help de facto partners of Irish citizens live & work in Ireland welcomed

Minister for the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon welcomes announcement of a new pre-clearance system to help de facto partners of Irish citizens live and work in Ireland

Minister of State for the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon T.D. welcomed the announcement of a new preclearance system to streamline entry to the State for de facto partners of returning Irish emigrants.

The system will enable de facto partners of Irish citizens who are nationals of a country from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to apply for permission to live and work in Ireland from outside the State. Once preclearance has been granted, they will have access to the Irish job market immediately after registering with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

Under the existing system, de facto partners were only eligible to apply once they had arrived in Ireland and may have had to wait for up to a year before receiving a decision, resulting in a period of uncertainty and in some cases financial strain.

Speaking today, Minister Cannon said:

I am delighted to see this new process being announced. The new system for gaining permission to live and work in Ireland will have a huge impact on Irish people living abroad thinking of returning home with their de facto partner. They will now be able to start building their new lives in Ireland right from the moment they arrive.

It is particularly good to see that this is a direct result of the work the Interdepartmental Committee has been doing to make the move back to Ireland easier for those living abroad. It is a move that reflects the new realities of the Irish living around the world, who are increasingly mobile and living in diverse family units. We want to make it easier for them to choose to come back to Ireland, and this new preclearance process is an important step in that direction.”

Press Office
20 August 2019

Notes to Editors:

Minister of State Cannon spoke in his role as Chair of the Interdepartmental Committee on the Irish Abroad, which is made up of representatives from Government departments and State agencies. The Committee has been working across all areas of government to make it easier for Irish people living overseas to return to Ireland.


The new preclearance system is the result of a recommendation made to Government in a report published last year on the challenges faced by returning Irish emigrants. The report was commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and published on the department’s website:

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