Third party agents exploit immigrants in the name of visa renewal appointments, which is actually a free service; Says report

Third party agents are still exploiting immigrants in the name of visa renewal, a latest report by the Independent said. The agents are block-booking appointments with Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) using automated bots, which are then being sold on to the desperate migrants applying for re-entry to the State or renewal of visas. The appointment is completely free if done directly, but the agents play in between and make it unable for migrants to book an appointment on their own. This forces them to pay and avail appointment from these third party agents.

The issue has a been a hot topic in in the recent years and even the Department of Justice acknowledged this. But the issue is persisting and exploitation grows, says the report. The report comes ahead of the expiration of automatically extended immigration permission next month. This can lead to a surge in appointments and a fruitful time for the third party agents.

Complaints from migrants struggling to book appointments with INIS system is very prevalent and the situation is going on since many years, according to a spokesperson for the Council. The agents are using automated bots to hoard available appointments early which causes a shortage in appointments for individual migrants trying their own.

Meanwhile a new tender has been issued by The Department of Justice for a new appointment and scheduling system, which will be operational in the ‘next month or so,’ the Independent reports by quoting a department spokesperson. They also expect an improvement in the registration process with the help of the new system.

“The temporary extension of immigration permissions runs until September 20, 2021. This means that all those legally in the State in March 2020 when the pandemic began can remain in the State until September 20,” the spokesperson added.

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