Frontline healthcare demands an end to Irish citizenship delays

Frontline healthcare demands an end to Irish citizenship delays

Non-European healthcare workers are calling on the Department of Justice to fast-track their naturalisation process, as foreign doctors working in Irish hospitals are seeking that Applications for Irish citizenship from migrant healthcare workers should be fast-tracked in recognition of their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Healthcare workers and their families are waiting more than two years for their citizenship process to be completed despite having all the appropriate documents and is causing “frustration” and “desperation”.

The Government’s immigration website states a “straightforward application” for Irish citizenship should take 12 months to process. Many say fast-tracking the process would provide greater stability for frontline migrant workers and their families.

These long delays and lack of transparency will result in a massive brain drain of skilled immigrant healthcare workers.

There is a strong emphasis on policy makers to take note of measures taken in France which has started fast-tracking citizenship applications from foreign healthcare workers.

Dr Liqa ur Rehman, a neonatology registrar at Galway University Hospital, says most foreign doctors end up waiting eight years for Irish citizenship.

“We are at the end of frustration with citizenship delays and this crucial step would be a huge positive for us and attract more healthcare workers from abroad to work in Irish hospitals,” he said.

These delays could be critical for our health service as we could be losing key skilled doctors, during this crucial time and is therefore devastating for Ireland.

We commend all Front-line workers, as they are putting their lives at risk for our benefit. We are therefore supporting them during this movement to speed up the process of applications.