The Four Courts along the River Liffey quayside in Dublin, home to the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Dublin Circuit Court. Built in the 18th Century, it was rebuilt after being destroyed during the Irish Civil War in 1922
John Ferris, the former honorary Philippine consul in Ireland edits his monthly Dublin Filipino diary which is mainly of interest to those in Ireland as well as the UK.
However, there are always features in it that are of interest to OFW's everywhere.
FILIPINO DIARYAPRIL 2012
WHEN PASSENGERS APPEAR AT AN AIRLINE CHECK-IN DESK AT AN IRISH AIRPORT TO FLY TO THE PHILIPPINES, THE CHECK-IN CLERK LOOKS AT THE MONITOR TO DISCOVER THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS SHOW SOME OF THE WORDING SHE SEES:-
NATIONAL IRELAND (REP. OF) (IE)
EMBARKATION IRELAND (REP. OF) (IE)
DESTINATION PHILIPPINES (PH)
VISA DESTINATION PHILIPPINES (PH)
...... NORMAL PASSPORTS ONLY ......
- PASSPORT AND/OR PASSPORT REPLACING DOCUMENTS MUST BE VALID
FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS ON ARRIVAL.
- FORMER NATIONALS OF THE PHILIPPINES, THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY
MEMBERS AND IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS OF NATIONALS OF THE
PHILIPPINES CAN ENTER WITH PASSPORTS VALID ON ARRIVAL.
- HOLDERS OF A VISA UNDER SEC. 9 (EXCEPT SEC. A.), AND 47 CAN
ENTER WITH PASSPORTS VALID LESS THAN 6 MONTHS ON ARRIVAL
PROVIDED THERE IS AN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE OF COUNTRY OF
NATIONALITY IN THE PHILIPPINES (WITH VALID ACR I-CARD,
VISA REQUIRED, EXCEPT FOR NATIONALS OF IRELAND (REP. OF), FOR
A MAX. STAY OF 21 DAYS.
VISA REQUIRED, EXCEPT FOR PASSENGERS ABLE TO PROVE THAT THEY
ARE FORMER NATIONALS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
VISA REQUIRED, EXCEPT FOR NATIONALS OF IRELAND (REP. OF), CAN
OBTAIN A VISA ON ARRIVAL, FOR A MAX. STAY OF 59 DAYS.
FEE: USD 50.- (BANK EXCHANGE SLIP IS MANDATORY). EXPRESS FEE:
PHP 500.-. (SEE NOTE 46140)
- FOREIGN MINORS, AGED UP TO/INCL. 14 YEARS, NOT RESIDING IN
THE PHILIPPINES AND TRAVELING WITHOUT PARENTS REQUIREA
WAIVER OF EXCLUSION GROUND (WEG)>TIDFT/PH/VI/MI/ID23153
- MINORS TRAVELLING ACCOMPANIED BY PARENTS
- VISITORS ARE REQUIRED TO HOLD PROOF OF SUFFICIENT FUNDS TO
COVER THEIR STAY AND DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THEIR NEXT
- MULTIPLE EXTENSIONS OF 59 DAYS, (WITH A MAXIMUM OF 1 YEAR),
AVAILABLE FOR THOSE LISTED UNDER VISA EXEMPTIONS.
- LENGTH OF STAYS ARE CALCULATED BY STARTING ON THE NEXT DAY
AFTER THE DAY OF ARRIVAL IN THE PHILIPPINES.
- RETURN/ONWARD TICKET IS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TO THE
- EXEMPT ARE HOLDERS OF A "SPECIAL NON-IMMIGRANT VISA" ISSUED
WHAT DOES THE ABOVE MEAN TO US ORDINARY TRAVELERS ?
All the above means very little to ordinary people as it is not in plain English, and can be also confusing to check-in clerks. Unfortunately, some check-in clerks have - in the past - misunderstood the above information and have bumped off intending passengers from their flight.
The check-in staff are aware of the Balikbayan programme, but under a different name, namely "Former Filipino Nationals". The word Balikbayan does not appear on the check-in clerks monitor; the relevant information appears when they type in "former Philippine citizens". (as you can see above in coded format).
Therefore, it's always a good idea to arrive at the airport with your own standby plans, namely printouts of the "Balikbayan" privileges from the Dublin Embassy website www.philembassydublin.ie , and printouts from www.immigration.gov.ph so you can explain to the check-in clerk how the coded language above actually applies to your situation.
If she doesn't believe you, she can actually enter the website of the embassy herself www.philembassydublin.ie and the Manila immigration website for confirmation of what you are trying to explain to her.
It occasionally happens that a Filipina with an Irish spouse checks in to travel for a months holiday, and the Irish spouse isn't allowed board the flight because the check-in clerk doesn't realize that the Irish spouse travelling with the Filipina, who can be holding an Irish or Philippine passport, and the spouse of this Filipina is also entitled to stay for up to a year without a visa.
Also a Filipino father checking in with his three children (two with Philippine passports and one with Irish passport) to go for a months holiday, had problems when the check-in clerk would not allow the child holding the Irish passport to board the flight.
Filipinos who hold an Irish and Philippine passport (unexpired)
It's always a good idea to arrive at the check-in desk at Dublin with your (current in-date) Philippine passport, as the duty officer at the monitor is less likely to get confused. Clearly, Philippine passport holders can travel to the Philippines without a visa.
However upon arrival at Manila airport it's better to present your Irish passport only, so they'll put the entry stamp in that passport, and you are then allowed to stay up to a year on the Balikbayan programme. Sometime the entry officer gives a Balikbayan stamp without you requesting it; but occasionally you won't get the Balikbayan stamp unless you request it immediately upon arrival at Manila airport. So you have now been warned "always to request it when handing him the passports of yourself and your family"
Obviously when returning to Ireland you will again present your Irish passport, because it's the passport where the entry stamp was put upon your arrival.
So, there's no need to use the Philippine passport at all in the Philippines.
PHILIPPINE EMBASSIES GIVE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON THEIR WEBSITES.
Q. What passport will I use when travelling to the Philippines?
Dual citizens are advised to: (a) bring both their Philippine and Irish passport when travelling to the Philippines, (b) use their Philippine passport when entering and transacting business in the Philippines, and (c) use their Irish passport when entering Ireland/Europe.
That embassy information could be dangerous and misleading in the Irish context, because most Filipinos don't realize that when they are sworn in as Irish Nationals they immediately lose their Philippine citizenship and are no longer regarded as Philippine citizens by the Philippine government, (even though the Irish government regard them as both Irish and Philippine citizens).
Therefore if they present their Philippine passports upon entry to the Philippines they could unwittingly be presenting an invalid passport and be guilty of some type of offence. They will find this out when they try to depart the Philippines and the immigration authorities discover this at that stage, and will tell them that the next time they try that, they won't be allowed to fly out.
So, as a rule of thumb, you always only use your Irish passport in the Philippines when you go for holidays both entering and leaving the country.
WHAT ARE THE BALIKBAYAN PRIVILAGES ?
Many Filipinos are unclear about what this means. Many heard about it over the years, but how does it impact on them. Fortunately it has a very positive impact.
We publish it from our newsletter of years ago as follows:
These privileges were introduced 11th December 1989. A Balikbayan is defined as :-
(1) A Filipino Overseas Worker.
(2) A Filipino national who has been out of the Philippines for one year or more.
(3 ) A Filipino holding a foreign passport, and his or her family (if all are traveling together).
VISA FREE ENTRY TO THE PHILIPPINES FOR ONE YEAR .
As from 2nd March 2000 this Balikbayan privilege had been extended to Filipino passport holders. The rule is as follows:-
No visa shall be required for a maximum stay of one year for the following:
1. Former Filipino citizens (specifically Filipinos who have been naturalized in Britain or Ireland) and their families travelling together.
2. Filipino citizens (Filipino passport holders) who have been continuously out of the Philippines for at least one year, and their families when travelling together with the Filipino.
3. Filipino overseas workers.
However in order to avail of the above privilege the traveler has to declare before the Philippine Immigration Officer at the port of entry that he/she is availing of the privilege and has to present their passports with the following documents:-
(a) Cancelled Philippine passport or birth certificate.
(b) Naturalization papers to show former Philippine citizenship or
(c) Certificate from adopted country.
The family members traveling together with the Filipino or former Filipino spouse should present the following documents when entering the Philippines:-
(a) Valid passport
(b) Marriage certificate in case of spouse.
(c) Birth certificate in the case of minor children (long version)
(d) Adoption papers where relevant.
FILIPINOS WHO DON'T HAVE TO PAY TRAVEL TAX.
Travel Tax only applies to Philippine passport holders and costs 1,620 pesos.
However it can also apply to foreign passports holders who overstay for more than a year.
However some Filipino passport holders can be exempted from paying travel tax. The embassy can grant exemption certificates free of charge to eligible Filipinos. The main category of eligible Filipino passport holders are those who cam prove they've been resident for five years in Ireland. It's slightly complicated, so we won't go into it now. But it's worthwhile considering if a family of four are traveling, and are eligible. I'll briefly explain it below.
FILIPINOS CAN AVOID PAYING TRAVEL TAX.
Travel tax is applicable to Filipino nationals and costs 1,620 pesos for economy passengers.
It shouldn't be confused with airport/terminal tax which costs 750 pesos paid by tourists.
One way of avoiding this travel tax - which Filipino passport holders have to pay before departing abroad - is to get a certificate of residency/employment or unemployment - as the case may be - from the Philippine Embassy in Dublin before going to the Philippines. (It's no longer required for Filipinos in UK).
You must produce this certificate in the Philippines in order to exchange it for an "exemption certificate" (PTA form 354) available from any Tourism authority Office in the Philippines. Countrywide branches include Baguio, Zamboanga, Davao. La Union, Cebu and Cagayan de Ora and of course the travel tax counter of Manila Airport.
The Philippine embassy will give eligible Filipinos this "tax exemption certificate" free of charge. They simply complete the "Application for Certificate of Residency" which is available near the embassy counter. Make sure to complete one for each member of the family, including each child, otherwise the travel tax counter in Manila will insist on charging your children travel tax. (which is less than 1,620 pesos for children; I think its 300 pesos for children between 2-12 years of age).
I should here mention that Filipinos who are still being processed by the POEA never have to worry about either Travel Tax or the Terminal/Airport fee.
However if you have a designation on your Irish re-entry visa stating "Resident", or something similar, the POEA won't process you; instead they'll direct you to the "Travel Tax" pay booth. Apparently the POEA only like process holders of visas which indicate "worker", as I understand.
IRISH BORN PASSPORT HOLDERS (people who've always been Irish), CAN ALSO TRAVEL to the PHILIPPINES FOR MORE THAN 21 DAYS WITHOUT A VISA.
Its important for these tourists to have a return ticket.
they can actually go for the 21 day and get a 38 day extension while in the philippines. see extract from www.immigration.gov.ph below.............
VISA EXTENSION FEES (UPDATED!)
TOURIST (NON-RESTRICTED) ADMITTED INITIALLY FOR 21 DAYS MAY BE EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER 38 DAYS
Visa Waiver application Fee
Legal Research Fee (LRF) for each immigration fee Expect Head Tax and Fines
it's important for these tourists to go to the irish airport a few days in advance to make enquiries and satisfy themselves that the airline understands this philippine privilage, and get assurance on this information well in advance. this will become more important to tourists when there is no embassy in late july to issue them a visa. irish people don't like sending their passports to london by post to get a visa, because of the unreliability of the uk postal service who can often take three weeks to return your passport. on one occasion i lost 14 philippipne passports as a result of the uk postal services, and i had to pay from my own money to replace them all at about £70 each. below is some information from www.immigration.gov.ph which is usually a very good website; but for this particular query the answers are scattered all over the website, so i've brought the relevant parts together.
I would like to visit the Philippines, am I required to apply for an entry visa?
If you are classified as a non-restricted national and your country has diplomatic ties/bilateral agreement with the Philippines, you are not required to secure an entry visa.
However, if you are classified as a restricted national, you are required to secure proper visa from a Philippine Embassy/Consulate prior to your entry to the Philippines.
Guidelines on Entry Visas of Temporary Visitors to the Philippines
A. Nationals from countries listed below are allowed to enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not exceeding twenty-one (21) days, provided they hold valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or next port of destination. Department regulations require that passports are valid for a period of not less than six (6) months beyond the contemplated period of stay. However, Immigration Officers at ports of entry may exercise their discretion to admit holders of passports valid for at least sixty (60) days beyond the intended period of stay.
B. Nationals from the following countries are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa:
The United Kingdom and almost 100 others countries. It forgets to mention Ireland.
How would I extend my visa?
You may get an application form from the Visa Extension Section located at the ground floor Annex building, Bureau of Immigration. Fill up the form, provide a photocopy of your passport, visa, latest arrival card, valid extension of stay, if any and other pertinent documents which will support your application.
What is the maximum extension of stay that can be granted to me?
For non-restricted nationals, the Chief of Visa Extension Section may grant you two (2) months for every extension but not to exceed the maximum period of one year. For restricted nationals, the Chief of Visa Extension Section may grant one (1) month for every extension but not to exceed a maximum period of six (6) months. For restricted nationals, the Commissioner and the Associate Commissioners have the right to approve the length of stay based on the merits of your application. After a year of stay in the country, the Commissioner and the Associate Commissioners will again be the ones to approve your stay based on the merits on your application.
Will it be necessary for me to appear personally for the extension of my visa?
You may or may not appear provided, you will ask assistance from any of the accredited travel agencies or law firms of the Bureau. But if it is necessary, you will appear before the Chief of Visa Extension section or any of the Commissioners for the clarification of your application.
How many days should I allot for the filing of my extension to avoid overstaying?
You should file your application seven (7) days before the expiration of your approved stay
The UK may be slipping down the world league table of the world's richest countries, having recently been overtaken by Brazil, but when measured in terms of GDP per person or on average pay Britain still ranks in the top five.
If you have ever wondered why people in wealthy countries, such as China, Brazil and India, still want to come to the UK to live, work or study, the ‘world average wage' league table may provide an answer.
Brazil may have risen to 7th in world wealth rankings largely due to its mineral resources, but the average salary of its citizens languish at 51, below Mauritius, Panama and Romania. (Philippines languishes at 70th place, poorer than India, but richer than Pakistan).
Korea just makes the top 10, above France, Canada, Germany, Singapore and Australia.
The Philippine economy relies heavily on its overseas workers (OFW's), but back at home the average salary is just $279 per month, just below India.
The average wage, calculated by the International Labour Organization, is published by the BBC for the first time. It's a rough figure based on data from 72 countries, omitting some of the world's poorest nations.
All figures are adjusted to reflect variations in the cost of living from one country to another, and as Ruth Alexander of BBC radio's More or Less programme underlines, it's all about wage earners, not the self-employed or people on benefits.
List of countries with wages in Purchasing Power Parity Dollars.
Can you believe that Ireland, of all places, is number eight in Purchasing Power !!! ahead of Germany, who we depend on to put money into our begging bowl !!
Korea (Republic of)
Hong Kong (China)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Moldova (Republic of)
Syrian Arab Republic
Fingal County Council Pass Motion For The Regularisation Of Undocumented Migrants
27 March 2012
Fingal County Council unanimously passed a motion on Monday 12th March to support the Introduction for an Earned Regularisation for Undocumented migrants in Ireland. The motion was propossed by Councillor Cain O' Callaghan who pointed out the practical and reasonable solution offered by such a scheme. It drew cross party support and the Councillors acknowledged the plight of undocumented migrant workers.
The motion adopted by all members of Fingal County Council reads as follows
"That Fingal County Council supports the undocumented Irish campaign in the US to introduce an earned regularisation scheme. This Council also notes with concern the high numbers of undocumented families and children living in Ireland without rights and under tremendous stress and fear. This Council supports the introduction of an earned regularisation scheme in Ireland, based on criteria set down by the Department of Justice, so that undocumented migrants living in Ireland can participate fully in the social, political and economic affairs of the Country. This Council asks that the Minister for Justice be written to upon the passing of this motion to inform him of Fingal County Council's support for the earned regularisation scheme."
Migrant women experiencing domestic violence continue to receive inadequate and inconsistent support from the State
The ICI are currently assisting with the situation of a migrant woman which highlights the continuing deficiencies in the response of the State to persons who experience domestic violence. The woman in question has been residing in Ireland legally since 2008 and in the past 12 months experienced severe domestic violence from her partner. The situation culminated in his abandoning her with their two small children, both of whom are under the age of two. As her former partner had been their only means of support, the ICI's client found herself with no means of supporting herself and her children, and was at risk of becoming destitute due to her inability to pay the rent on her apartment. She approached her local Community Welfare Officer (CWO) for support and assistance. On the first two occasions she was told verbally by the CWO that she wouldn't qualify for any payments so there was no point in applying. On the third occasion she was refused on the basis that she did not satisfy the Habitual Residency Condition, despite having resided in Ireland since 2008 and having two small children, one of whom is an Irish citizen. At this point she came into contact with the ICI who assisted her in addressing her immigration situation by making an application for independent residency status. The ICI also assisted her in appealing the refusal of supplementary welfare payments. Both of these applications are still pending. The ICI intervened with the CWO to request that emergency needs payments be paid to the woman to assist her and her children with their basic survival needs while the situation gets resolved. Thankfully, the CWO agreed to these payments and the ICI's client is now receiving temporary support from the CWO. The above situation highlights the severe difficulties that those who are experiencing domestic violence face in addressing their situations. The ICI would strongly contend that support for individuals in these situations should be automatic and fast tracked, in the very least providing temporary support to the person to exit the situation, address the difficulties that will be faced in the short term, and ensure that the individual themselves or any children involved do not end up in destitution. The lack of clarity and consistency from the State on the supports available to people in these situations not only risks the safety and well being of those involved, but acts as a severe deterrent to those who may be contemplating leaving a domestic violence situation. For more information please contact Brian Killoran at firstname.lastname@example.org
We can see that the Uk is way ahead of Ireland with regard to Migrant domestic violence. Read below.
31 March 2012 Last updated at 00:01 GMT
Migrant domestic violence support scheme extended in the UK
The move makes permanent a pilot scheme which has been running since 2009
A scheme to help migrants forced to leave relationships as a result of domestic violence is being made permanent, the Home Office has said.
The move follows a pilot project that has provided support for 1,522 people, including 738 women with children.
The initiative assists victims who would otherwise be destitute or have no access to public funds.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said domestic violence affected people of all ages and backgrounds.
The scheme helps spouses and partners, who are foreign nationals and the victims of domestic violence, with access to support services.
The government said the project would assist an estimated 500 people a year in the UK.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Domestic violence is a terrible crime affecting people of all ages and backgrounds and this government is determined to tackle it.
"No one should be forced to stay in an abusive relationship and this scheme helps victims in genuine need escape violence and harm and seek the support they deserve."
The scheme will become permanent in April following a pilot called the Sojourner Project which has been running since 2009.
The government said that in many cases victims were afraid to seek help because they lacked financial support and feared they would be removed from the UK if their relationship failed.
Those eligible for the scheme will be granted a limited period of exceptional leave to remain by the UK Border Agency.
Victims would be able to access financial and support services, such as a refuge, and be allowed to apply for UK residency.
Jo Clarke, from refuge charity Eaves Women's Aid, who co-ordinated the pilot, said: "The Sojourner Project pilot has been a huge success, enabling in excess of 1,000 people, 12 of them men, to escape abusive relationships and secure indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
"Victims of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds are among the most vulnerable and badly abused so the Sojourner funding has, quite literally, saved many lives.
"Our findings have demonstrated the need for this escape route and I welcome the introduction of the government's long-term solution which will mainstream the provision of financial support to this group."
The following is a very important article for Filipinos in Ireland to read, because the UK government is now trying to stop it's Filipinos obtaining naturalization.
We know from experience that the Irish government follow the example of the UK government in many cases; so we appeal to all Filipinos in Ireland that now is the time to start seriously considering applying for Irish Naturalization.
Immigration changes mean many migrant nurses can't stay in UK
From 6 April 2012, migrants from outside the EU earning less than £35,000 (approx €42,000 per year) will not be allowed to settle in the UK. Critics have accused ministers of risking patient health in favour of a "crude" immigration policy after government documents revealed that almost half of the migrant nurses will be forced to leave the UK under the new immigration rules.
A new UK government impact assessment reveals the change will cut the number of NHS nurses by "hundreds or low thousands" and cost the economy up to £433 million over the next 10 years as people leave.
The impact assessment stated: "We estimate 48 percent of migrant nurses, 37 percent of primary school teachers, 35 percent of IT/software professionals and 9 percent of secondary teachers would be excluded." However, the assessment claims that the loss of the migrant nurses will not have a "significant impact" on the ability of the 698,000-strong nurse workforce in the country to carry out their duties.
But Gail Adams, head of nursing at the union Unison, claimed the losses would come on top of a current shortage of trained nursing staff and at a time when many nurses in what is a relatively elderly workforce will be moving into retirement.
"The government should think again about these restrictions on overseas nurses. They have cut the number of nurse training places by 20 per cent over the last two years, which means we will not have enough qualified nurses to cover those coming up to retirement," Adams said. "These crude restrictions will make matters worse and create skill shortages in the future. The quality of care will obviously suffer if hospitals cannot recruit the nurses they need to ensure a safe ratio of nurses to patients."
Patient care 'will suffer' under plans to throw out migrant nurses
Government's own assessment predicts 48% of non-EU nurses will be excluded from Britain under new rulesDaniel Boffey, policy editor
The new immigration policy will affect migrant workers earning less than £35,000 a year. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Ministers have been accused of risking patient health in favour of a "crude" immigration policy after government documents revealed that almost half of the nurses from abroad now working in the NHS will be forced to leave Britain under new plans.
Theresa May, the home secretary, has announced that migrants from outside the European Union earning less than £35,000 will not be allowed to settle in the UK. The pay threshold, which will see people beginning to be removed in 2016, is the first time that a British government has imposed an economic test on the right to settlement in the UK and is designed to break the link between working and settling in the country.
The pay threshold will apply to people wanting to remain permanently after more than five years working in the UK but it is expected to provide a disincentive to any migrant nurses whose services the country have need of in the future.
The new immigration policy is motivated by the government's desire to reduce net migration and "reserve settlement for those who make the biggest economic contribution" rather than "low value-added" migrant workers.
Matt Cavanagh, from the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank, said the new system was unfair and made no economic sense. He said: "It is complacent of the government to downplay the effects of a policy that targets half of migrant nurses as 'marginal', simply because there are so many other nurses in the country."
Immigration minister Damian Green said: "For too long immigration was allowed to get out of control. Our radical reforms are ensuring that we are selective not just about who can come here but also who will be allowed to stay permanently. These changes represent real progress on our promise to bring immigration back to sensible, sustainable levels, and to bring in only those migrants who can make the greatest contribution to life in the UK."
Domestic Workers The government says it will also restrict the arrival of foreign domestic workers to those who are travelling with their employers, such as diplomats or business people temporarily working in the UK. Mrs May said: "We recognise that the ODW (overseas domestic worker) routes can at times result in the import of abusive employer/employee relationships to the UK.
"It is important that those who use these routes to bring their staff here understand what is and is not acceptable. So we will be strengthening pre-entry measures to ensure that domestic workers and their employers understand their respective rights and responsibilities."
Under the new rules, overseas domestic workers who come to the UK with their employer must leave after six months. Those working in diplomats' households can stay for up to five years. The workers will not be able to extend their stay, switch employer, sponsor dependants or seek settlement.
The plans form part of government's target to reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.
Since the coalition came to power they have changed the Immigration Rules in order to slash the number of migrants from outside the European Union who can come here to work, and introducing sweeping changes to the Tier 4 student visa system.
Full details of the proposals, a summary of responses to the consultation, and Damian Green's written ministerial statement can all be found on the Home Office website.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said of the new salary cap: "People should only be allowed to settle in this country under these rules if they can pay their way, live by our rules and contribute value to our country. We need strict controls, properly enforced, and all of the mainstream parties should agree on that."
UK Independence Party home affairs spokesman, Gerard Batten MEP, said the government was "posturing" on immigration because any measures cannot apply to EU citizens.
He said: "The solution is for Britain to take back control of its immigration policy so that we can decide who we admit, for how long, and under what conditions. We can only do that we leave the EU and repudiate the European Court of Justice."
The rule changes will not affect Bulgarian and Romanian exercising European Treaty Rights on Yellow Cards.
Incidently, a tourist visa to the UK now costs $95. That's what a nurse paid yesterday to get her child a visa at the UK embassy in Dublin.
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
15th March 2012
Thousands of undocumented living in Ireland and abroad will celebrate St Patrick's Day while living in the shadows.
St Patrick's Day is a day of celebration across the globe for Irish people. "This is a day that reminds us of being Irish, of our shared values of equality and justice that as a nation we want the world to see" said Ms. McGinley of the MRCI. She continues "there are an estimated 30,000 undocumented people, including children and families, who have been living undocumented in Ireland. Just like the undocumented Irish across the globe, they too are deeply rooted within our communities, working, paying taxes and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. They have made Ireland their home. But they live in the shadows under tremendous stress and fear of deportation."
Justice for the Undocumented campaign member Elisia Fuentes originally from the Philippines who came to Ireland in 2007, said "it is very hard being undocumented. I feel invisible. I have three children to support and I work really hard to provide an education for them. Yet I am in limbo". Speaking on behalf of the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign she said "we believe that Ireland has the opportunity to provide a fair and pragmatic solution to our situation by introducing a regularisation scheme which considers both the rights and responsibilities of undocumented people living here".
Edel McGinley - 087 7485695
Siobhan O'Donoghue - 087 67774653
Notes to the Editor
A profile study of 1,250 undocumented migrants seeking assistance from the MRCI over a two year period (2009-2011) shows that the undocumented migrant population in Ireland tends to be older with significant numbers of women with children. The majority of the undocumented are engaged in employment, typically in more informal job sectors such as restaurants and cleaning, and many have been with the same employer for several years.
Lawyers warn that Cohabitants Act may have created dangers where couples live together
'DEADBEAT' boyfriends and girlfriends who contribute little to the household could end up making claims on their partner's incomes or even their properties thanks to cohabiting legislation, leading lawyers have claimed.
The Civil Partnership Act 2010, also known as the Cohabitants Act, which came into force last year, raises more questions than it answers, said Dublin-based solicitor Anthony Joyce.
He believes that the Act opens the way for non-married former partners who can prove long-term dependence to claim against their ex.
"It's all about proving dependency. If a girl bought a house and her 'deadbeat' boyfriend lived there for five years without working and she paid the bills, then it's possible that if they split up he could make a case for being a dependent and make a claim on her income or property.
"It's just one of the many unanswered questions which this legislation raises," said Mr Joyce, whose practice has started to draft up 'cohabitive opt-out contracts' -- a type of prenuptial agreement for those who aren't married.
"The first aspect of the Act, which deals with the definition of Civil Partnership for same-sex couples, seems to be relatively straightforward. But the second part, which deals with all cohabiting couples, whatever their sex, has created certain rights and obligations of cohabitants that are not at all clear.
"This has created a whole new area of family law which will cause excessive litigation of the type which will have to be interpreted by the courts. The result will be far more court action than is necessary and more cases going all the way to the High Court or Supreme Court."
Under the legislation, couples have the opportunity to "opt out" of cohabiting legislation, but only if both sign a contract in the presence of lawyers.
"Can you imagine presenting a girlfriend you've been dating for six months with one of these contracts just before she moves in? Unfortunately, that's where we're headed," he said.
The Law Society has already drafted its own guideline contract, which, among other stipulations, calls for partners to declare who pays what percentage of the household expenses, waive claims on possible inheritances and agree not to claim against each other's pensions.
Marian Campbell, chairperson of the Family Lawyers Association, also believes the legislation has been poorly drafted.
"I have already prepared three opt-out contracts for clients, two for men and one for a woman. In one case, my client was a wealthy farmer who wanted to prevent his partner making a claim on his property. But in the end, she wouldn't sign it.
"On top of this, the trouble is that even when such a contract is properly prepared and signed in the presence of legal representatives from both sides, its contents can still be questioned by a court."
Muriel Walls, of McCann FitzGerald, is also one of Ireland's best known family-law specialists.
"If anything, the legislation is a wake-up call to those who are cohabiting and it says that there are now real responsibilities and obligations which go with living together.
"As a result we need to do everything we can to make the public aware of these obligations. If you have lived with someone for two years or more and you have a child, there are obligations.
"If you have lived with someone for five years without children, then there are also likely to be obligations."
"While I'm not sure that in this day and age someone would really live for five years with someone who isn't contributing, there's certainly the argument that the non-contributing partner could make a claim under the legislation.
"Whether a court upholds the rights of someone like that is another matter entirely."
Bizarrely it seems the only possible means of avoiding the implications of the cohabiting legislation is to be married.
"To qualify to be a cohabitant, it seems you must neither be married nor divorced. This makes matters even more confusing," Ms Campbell said.
"Even the name of the legislation is vague -- 'The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights in Respect of Cohabitants Act'. The fact that it's as full of grey areas as its very name suggests means that more people will have to go to court to sort themselves out," Mr Joyce added.
- Mark Keenan
Originally published in
o LOCATED THIS NOTICE ON "now ye're talkin' boards.ie"
9th June 2012 Bunratty Castle Hotel available again
Just had to go and cancel our wedding plans at Bunratty Castle hotel. The wedding was for 9th June 2012 Saturday and deposit paid. Found out now we cannot marry in Ireland as my Finance has been annulled in the Philippines and the registry office wont accept the wedding as the papers are not recognized in Ireland and we had to seek legal advice which we did and they said €3500 to €5500 to try and get it recognized here but may not be successful so we have had to cancel everything.
We can now only go to the Philippiness and get married which means none of my friends best man can get there as none can afford this extra cost so very small wedding and need to get my parents there now. Oh god all ahead of me.
Anyone who knows someone who wanted that hotel can now book this date.
o People may leave homes 'despite new debt rules'
Ads by Google
By Charlie Weston
Tuesday March 13 2012
PEOPLE who cannot afford their mortgage may not want to stay in the house, flying in the face of new debt rules, an insolvency expert has said.
This is known as 'buyer's regret', where people whose home purchase dream has gone sour may decide they want nothing more to do with the property.
Sean Kelly at Farrell Grant Sparks was analysing new personal insolvency rules, which are expected to become law before the end of the year.
They have been designed to ensure people with a mortgage they cannot manage are not forced to leave their home.
But thousands of borrowers may prefer to leave a home and rent somewhere else, Mr Kelly said.
This could mean there would be a smaller take-up for personal insolvency arrangements than the Government is expecting.
Such an arrangement is for people unable to pay mortgage and other debts of between €20,000 and €3m.
An insolvency trustee, working for the family, would put proposals to the bank to have some of the debt written off at the end of six years. This allows them to stay in the home. Banks will have an effective veto on any mortgage debt deals.
- Charlie Weston
Domestic Workers Action Group (MRCI)
7 March 2012
Domestic Workers Demand Dignity!
Migrant Domestic Workers Call on Gov to Ratify ILO Convention and Recognise theirWork
Hundreds of migrant women employed as domestic workers in Ireland are demanding their dignity on International Women's Day. The Domestic Workers Acton Group (DWAG) is calling on the State to protect vulnerable women workers and to ratify international laws that recognise rights for domestic workers. DWAG and SIPTU are calling on Minister Bruton to make a public commitment to bring national laws in line with the requirements of the ILO Convention to address exploitation in this sector.
Worldwide, domestic workers are campaigning for governments to ratify the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers which they unanimously voted for at the UN last year. This was a landmark in the 63 year-long struggle to get recognition of rights for domestic workers.
Mariaam Bhatti of DWAG says: "Ratification is essential. Domestic workers are integral to the economic structure and the well being of every society, and yet so many of us suffer physical, emotional and psychological abuse on a daily basis. We have rights. We have dignity. We want the government to shout with us: "exploitation of domestic workers will not be tolerated in Ireland".
Echoing the words of Mariaam Bhatti, John King (SIPTU) said Minister Bruton has an opportunity to send out a strong and clear message that the abuse of domestic workers who come to work in Ireland will not be tolerated. "The Minister should be proactive and today, International Women's Day, he should affirm his commitment to ensuring the welfare and rights of all working women by stating his intent to adopt the ILO Convention 189". He said the Minister should "commit to introducing any required legislative changes so as to give robust protective measures to ensure the protection of these vulnerable workers".
A Filipino student who committed bigamy in an attempt to breach the UK's immigration laws has been sentenced 27 February, the UK Border Agency has announced.
Van Dexter Fuentespina, 23, of Marlborough Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, admitted that he had already had a wife and two children in the Philippines at the time of his marriage to a French woman at Watford Register Office on 5 September last year.
Today at Luton crown court, Fuentespina was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and given 120 hours community service after he had pleaded guilty to charges of bigamy and perjury at an earlier hearing.
Andy Radcliffe, Criminal and Financial Investigations Team, UK Border Agency said:
‘This was a calculatedly cynical attempt to undermine the UK's immigration laws. Fuentespina entered into this criminal endeavour with a complete disregard for the sanctity of marriage. He deserves credit for admitting his offences, but it is right he face the consequences of his actions.
‘Our message could not be clearer - we will not tolerate immigration abuse and we will take decisive action against those involved.'
His crimes came to light when Fuentespina, who had a valid student visa, turned himself in at Watford Police Station on 1 December last year.
He admitted that he failed to disclose the existence of his first wife and children when he entered the UK in September 2009 and again when he was married for a second time at Watford register office. His French bride, he said, was unaware that he was already married.
Checks carried out by our officers at the British Embassy in Manila confirmed that Fuentespina married his first wife in May 2009 in Iloilo City in the Philippines.
He also admitted that his main reason for marrying the French woman was with a view to applying for residency which would have allowed him to work and claim benefits.
The investigation involved seconded police officers working together with our officers to investigate organised immigration crime.
Anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can visit the report crime section on this website, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Source: UK Border Agency.
WEDNESDAY, 29 FEBRUARY 2012
‘Helping people who can take care of themselves is not helping the Philippines'
When best-selling author Suze Orman said yes to the invitation of Bank of the Philippines Islands to visit the country and speak about "financial wellness," an advocacy of the bank and, incidentally, also Orman's, the money guru waived her usual fees.
The BPI officials said Orman also vetoed their offer to sell her books at the speaking venue, the NBC Tent in Taguig. The event was attended by over a thousand bank clients on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Orman has never been to the country until now, but she has a soft spot for Filipinos. Back home in the United States, four Filipinos are trusted household staff. "There are no greater workers than Filipinos," she says. Believing in the Filipino skill, she specifically chose a call center in the Philippines to handle communications for her newly launched prepaid cash card in the US.
Having Filipinos in her employ, Orman is only too familiar with Filipinos' idiosyncrasies.
"What's unique to the Philippines is this built-in culture that one person could take care of a lot of people, a built-in culture that if you leave the Philippines and you go abroad to make money, it's absolutely your obligation to send home that money whether you can afford to or not," she says.
Orman points out what she thinks Filipinos need to work on, especially those who depend on family members working abroad, in order to achieve what she foresees to be a "dramatic growth and greatness" in the country's economy.
She explains why it's vital for Filipino parents to teach their children early about financial responsibility, and why sometimes withholding money from a loved one is actually helping them.
She also tackles in length that one thing many consider as the evil of modern times: the credit card-how not fall into its traps, and how to get out of it when you do.
What mistakes do people commonly make with regards to money?
SO: People make the mistake of thinking that they don't have what it takes to learn about their money, that they don't have what it takes to get money, to have money. They make the mistake of trusting others more than they trust themselves. It's probably the biggest mistake they make.
Let's talk about plastic. A lot of people regard it as evil. What's the right attitude to owning a credit card?
SO: If you have a credit card and you purchase something with it, and when the bill comes in at the end of the month, if you can't pay off that bill in full, 100 percent, you're already in credit card trouble. If you find yourself doing that just once, say you spend P1,000 and all you can afford to pay is P100, and you're paying interest on P900, you're in credit card trouble already. If you find yourself doing that once, you should cut up that credit card, you shouldn't have it again. You should pay cash from that moment on.
In the Philippines it's pretty easy to get a credit card. If you're 20, just out of college, and someone offers you a credit card in the mall, it's pretty easy to fall into the trap.
SO: The country needs to start looking into why it's allowed to push credit cards to people. Credit card dealers are equally as bad as drug dealers. But it's legal for them to come out in public and say, "Here, little boy, little girl, here's a credit card for you. Go and buy things you can't afford." I think if the Philippines could just learn from the mistakes of the United States, and the second somebody is late on a payment, and the second somebody goes over their credit limit, their credit card should be frozen. No other credit card should be given that person, and they should help that person not get into further credit card trouble. There should be a system set up that says, immediately, when someone is acting irresponsibly with their credit card, help them. Don't help them by giving them another credit card so they can take money from this credit card to pay off that other credit card. Help them! "That's it! You don't get to charge anymore. You pay off that credit and it's over for now."
It's not so easy to give up plastics altogether as there are establishments that require credit cards. Say, buying online or checking into a hotel.
SO: If you have debit cards here, why not open an account, get a card attached to that account? It's a far better way to do things.
Filipino parents have a tendency to coddle their children. Children live with their parents even after college, and it's unusual for Filipino parents to demand rent or living expenses from their child even when s/he already has a job. What would you tell these parents?
SO: Parents need to understand that even if they ask the children for living expenses, it doesn't mean that they have to take that money and do something with it. They could take that money and save it for their children, so that when their children move out, the parents could give that money to the children to help them make a downpayment for a home. But I do think it's important that children learn the responsibility of what it takes to pay for something, what it takes to eat. You start to train them so that when they do leave the house, they understand that, "Oh it's gonna cost me money to buy food, it's gonna cost me to have water and electricity," the realities in life. You're helping them rather than making the situation as just taking care of them. If you charge them and show them that this is their part of the bill... They graduated school, they're making money, and they should pay for that. If you want to and you can afford to, why not save it for them and when they move out, you now have a lump sum of money that you can give them that they themselves created, so that they can see how that works.
Parents are quick to bail out their children when they get into money troubles.
SO: It's not unique to the Philippines. Most parents will do anything to bail out their children. What's unique to the Philippines is this built-in culture that one person could take care of a lot of people, a built-in culture that if you leave the Philippines and you go abroad to make money, it's absolutely your obligation to send home that money whether you can afford to or not. And there's nothing wrong with that. But sometimes when you send things to people... You know I have a saying, "When is helping hurting, and when is hurting helping?" Sometimes when you give and you give, people never have the ability to rise up and see what they can do on their own. In a very strange way it keeps people down. It keeps them thinking that they can't do something unless someone sends them money. If something happens to that person, say, they lose their job, that one person has now affected the lives of four, five people that they've been sending money home to. And they don't even have money saved because they sent all that money home. Now they're all suffering. They don't have to send all the money home! Over time, there's nothing wrong with that. I think there's a better way to do it than how it is being done. But I understand that it's a cultural event, that it's an obligatory event. I'm just not sure that helping people who can take care of themselves is really helping the country, the family, and the people.
Most Filipinos don't get their first job until after they finish college, unlike in the US when you're practically on your own by the time you turn 18. For Americans, you have to fend for yourself at an earlier age. That's not the case here.
SO: That's not the case now, but I think now, in the next few years, the Philippines is about to go through a dramatic change. It's about to see dramatic growth and greatness, and a sense of independence, financial recognition that the Philippines has never seen before. I think the stock market will grow, real estate will grow, and more and more people will own condos. It will start to be a thriving economy in a whole different way than you've experienced in the past. It's gonna be interesting.
What specific things can individuals do to contribute to what you're saying?
SO: Individuals just have to understand that they have what it takes to get involved with their money. Even if you don't know how to invest there's nothing wrong with saving it. There's nothing wrong with having a bank account and getting as much pleasure in saving as you do spending. There's nothing wrong with never having a car. There's nothing wrong that if you have a car, it's a tiny car and it's used and it's 10 years old. Who cares? They're gonna have to understand, do they buy things or do they save money?
When you come to some money, do you save it or pay off your debt?
SO: You pay off your debt. Debt here is very expensive. Debt could be 25, 35 percent [interest] or even higher. Your savings rate in terms of the interest rate that they're going to pay you is not as high as the interest of your debt. If you have P5,000 in a bank account and it earns 2 percent, what sense does it make to make 2 percent with your money sitting in a bank account, when you owe P5,000 in credit card debt at 25 percent interest? You're losing 23 percent interest.
Do you encourage entrepreneurship in people who have no experience running a business?
SO: People are more creative and wiser than they think. Sometimes you have a dream besides just working for somebody. You can try it little by little, but don't go borrowing all that money if you've never done it before. Do it very small, start small and if you're making money then grow into it. Don't go full blown if you don't know what you're doing.
Do you find that women are better at handling money?
SO: It's not that they're better at handling money. Men are really good at things that they do, they're very capable. It's just that women take over. Women like to do it all. Women are very creative and capable. They raise children, they can do anything. But I wouldn't say they're better at [handling money].
But mothers typically indulge their children, and give the money they have to their children, or buy things for their children. Is that a good thing?
SO: It's not a good thing because if they keep giving it and they don't have a retirement plan for themselves, they don't have their homes paid off, they don't have enough money somewhere that when they need it it's there... When they get old it's expected that the kids will take care of them. What if the kids can't? What happens if the kids don't have the money? The kids will feel horrible, that Mommy and Daddy spent all these money on them, and now they're suffering and the kids can't help. It will hurt them deeply.
You're married now (to her longtime partner and manager Kathy "KT" Travis). You said in an interview that you worried about your partner, in the case that something happens to you?
SO: In the US there's estate tax. If you're a legally married heterosexual, what can happen is that if I have $10 billion and I left it to my husband, he would get $10 billion estate tax free. No taxes whatsoever. If it's not a heterosexual relationship, what happens is, I can only leave, let's say it's $1 million estate tax free to somebody. Anything over that, they're gonna lose 50 percent of that to estate taxes.
That's not the case with you anymore?
SO: It still is because they don't recognize [my marriage] in the US. [Filipinos in same-sex relationships] there's nothing they can do about it. It's very sad. Hopefully one day in the US that will change. That hasn't changed currently and it's a travesty. It's not fair.
Did you get married in the US?
SO: In South Africa, where it's legally recognized...
Because it's not recognized in all US states.
SO: And on a federal level it's not recognized at all, so it doesn't matter. Each state can do whatever they wanna do but on a federal estate tax level, it's not recognized at all. Very sad.
Tell me more about your advocacy of financial wellness. You spoke to over a thousand clients of the Bank of the Philippine Islands today. You did it for free.
SO: I did that because I have people who work in my home, who drive me, who cook for me, and they're all from the Philippines. Every single one of them. For years now I've watched them work hard, send their money home, I've watched them not know what to do and live for others, Now they're getting older. They started when they were in their 20s, 30s, now they're in their 50s and 60s. What's sad is that they used to wanna come home all the time, they used to wanna go home to Cebu... They would come home every May, they would take a month off each year, for 10-15 years, to come home. Last year one of them didn't wanna go home anymore. So I asked why. And she said, "Because when I go home, all they want is money. And I'm getting older, Suze, and I don't know how much longer I'll be able to work." Because it's hard work, they go up and down on the stairs, they go on their knees... And there was something very sad to me about that. She wanted to start saving the money for herself when she got older. And that had a profound effect on me. I can't quite explain it. This is a woman who didn't see her child from the age of 5 until the age of 15, because she couldn't go home until she got her green card, and it took 10 years. She cared enough for her family to not see her child for 10 years! And now she voluntarily doesn't wanna go home. Seeing this on the people who work for me-because these people are the closest people to you-they see you as you really are, when you get out of bed in the morning, when you're fighting, they see everything about you. So on some level, they've had my heart. That [prepaid] card that I made, the call center is here. I'll visit them on Monday. And I wanted it in the Philippines not because it's cheaper. I wanted it to be here because I know that I could train those people to be stronger. I'm personally training so they'll answer questions even if they don't know the answer. I'm trying to teach them to say, "I don't know. I'll get back to you." I'm trying to teach them that it's all right to be strong and to be firm, to be assertive. You bring that with a heart and the desire to serve, which is in your nature. There are no greater workers than Filipinos. There's something about them. So when KT goes to hire, she specifically says, "I want to hire Filipinos."
Final bill to taxpayer over Nigerian mother's case could hit €500,000
By DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter
Sunday February 05 2012
THE Irish taxpayer has footed a legal bill for more than €350,000 to defend its deportation of controversial asylum seeker Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters last July.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter, in a letter to Fianna Fail's Finance spokesman Michael McGrath that has been seen by the Sunday Independent, confirmed that as a result of Ms Izevbekhai's longstanding fight against deportation, the taxpayer was hit for €353,328 between 2005 and 2011.
"This involved in excess of 20 court appearances. I understand that a sum of €353,328 was incurred by the State in relation to defending the above-mentioned legal cases before courts in this State," Mr Shatter said.
However, the final cost could exceed €500,000 as the burden of defending the case before the European court has not yet been calculated.
Responding to the revelations, Fianna Fail said it was incredible that so much taxpayers' money could be sunk into defending just one asylum case.
Its justice spokesman, Dara Calleary, said: "It is extraordinary that so much of public money could be tied up into one particular case. There needs to be a review."
Ms Izevbekhai, who fought a six-year battle against the deportation of herself and her daughters Naomi (10) and Jemima (9), was arrested on July 18 last year in Sligo, where they were living.
The family were put on a commercial flight from Dublin to Amsterdam, then transferred to another flight, which took them to Lagos in Nigeria.
Ms Izevbekhai had claimed that her daughters faced the threat of female genital mutilation if they were returned to Nigeria.
The asylum case has been one of the most high-profile and controversial. Her deportation was originally ordered in September 2005 but was the subject of several legal challenges, culminating in a decision by the Supreme Court to reject her claims last July.
She then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. However, that appeal was also rejected.
In 2009, it was disclosed that members of the Garda's National Immigration Bureau obtained affidavits showing that her claim that an obstetrician in Lagos delivered her baby Elizabeth in February 1993 and treated her before she died from complications after female circumcision was false.
Obstetrician Joseph Unokanjo admitted that an affidavit sworn by him was a forgery. He said he delivered Ms Izevbekhai's daughter Naomi in 2000 and that this was her first child.