Section 4 of the Immigration Act 2004 gives the Minister a broad power to grant work and residency rights. Section 4 is a flexible tool for applicants who cannot get a visa. At the moment, we are dealing with an interesting case where our applicant and the spouse are from a war-torn country and cannot return home.
They are highly educated individuals who for personal reasons do not wish to apply for asylum in this country. As such, our Section 4 application requests the Minister to allow them to seek gainful employment and reside here in the country, together with their child. It is possible for the Minister to grant such work and residency rights to these applicants, even if they reside in Ireland illegally at present.
The key powers for the Minister lie in Section 4(6), which permits an immigration officer to grant a permission to reside and remain in the country “as they see fit”.
It is important in these type applications that the applicant demonstrates the strengths of his application. Usually there is a mixture of factors, for example, domestic situation in the home country, personal reasons and circumstances for moving to Ireland, and current motivations to work and live here.
In our situation, the applicant cannot be returned home, as he would be drafted into the war of his home country. His academic standard is exemplary, as are the professional qualifications of his wife. They have a child, which would suffer exposure to civil war if going home with its parents. In our view, this application is unique in the combination of threat to life on returning home, together with the strong personal skills, which both applicants have to offer. We hope that their application will succeed and that the Minister allows them to reside and work in this country.