As some of you may be aware, there has been some difficulties for missionaries/church-planters/pastors who have wanted to come into the Republic of Ireland to preach the gospel and start churches. As of the 1 January, some good news has come out, depending on your perspective. Aontas, a group that was working on this issue, released the following information yesterday:
As you are aware the Government changed the rules for missionaries coming into the country some time ago. They changed the rules so that a missionary could only stay in the country for a maximum of three years. At the time we put together a committee representing those affected by this and made approaches to the Department. During these approaches we made a written submission seeking to point out the difficulties that this new rule would cause for both the Missionaries and indeed for the church in Ireland.
Thankfully the Department facilitated us by granting and extension to the visas for those missionaries immediately affected and also said that they could carry out a review of their policy. I am glad to say that this review is now complete and the end product is broadly to be welcomed. The three year rule remains in place but provision for ongoing one year extensions is now included in the new policy. Thus a missionary can stay in the country long-term provided that they continue to fulfil the conditions of their original visa application. There may be a number of issues with the new policy but this will not become fully clear until we see how the new policy will actually be implemented.
There is still some uncertainty about how all of this will be carried out, but at least there is the possibility to get approval to come into the country as a missionary. You can find out more about the new laws on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service webpage here. Much of the requirements to come into the country seem similar to the requirements for our visa in the UK. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to comment below or call me at +44 77 7220 6876 or +1 330 437 1527.
Read about other missions works at bcwe.org.