The CIIC has long been concerned that the current social welfare rules regarding residency are resulting in denial of social welfare benefits to immigrants who return from the United States.
Applicants who have lived in the US for the previous two years or more will have to show documentary evidence that Ireland is now their “center of interest.” It is important to be aware that there is a presumption that the applicant is not habitually resident in Ireland at the time of making the application until the contrary is shown by him or her. The onus is on the applicant to prove that s/he is habitually resident in the State.
Recent reports indicate that this, Habitual Residency Requirement or HRC is indeed resulting in the denial of benefits to returning Irish immigrants. The Irish Times. and the Examiner recently reported that the number of Irish citizens who were refused payments because they failed to satisfy residency requirements increased by almost 75% last year.
This is a major concern to Irish Centers here because their clients who are undocumented here do not have the option of returning to the US if they have no means of support at home. While the increase in the refusal rate in 2009 may be the result of the Government’s attempt to crack down on welfare fraud it is unconscionable to deny basic benefits to returning citizens.
If you are an Irish citizen who is intending to return home after living here for 2 years or more be sure to check out our blog to get the facts before you leave. Contact your local Irish Center for more information.