Long immigration queues continue in Cork as student starts petition for change

Long immigration queues continue in Cork as student starts petition for change
The immigration queue outside Anglesea Street Garda Station.

Long immigration queues continue to persist outside Anglesea Street Garda Station.

The Echo reported over a month ago that people were queuing as early as 5am in order to secure an appointment to see the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

A UCC student has decided to take matters into his own hands by starting an online petition to get the system changed.

Jonah Shemie, a second-year Medicine student in UCC, says "it's the same every year."

"You have to get there from 6am just to have a chance of getting an appointment [for a future date]."

"I had friends who went at 7am two days ago. They were told there wasn't a chance they'd be seen that day."

"It's so clear there has to be a better way. The people who process applications have to turn away dozens of people every day. Who benefits from this?"

He describes his own experience as "frustrating"."The first time I got there, all of the appointment cards had been given out. The next time, I got there at 5:45am and I was the 30th person in line."

"Even if you are there early, it takes up until noon because once you get inside the building there's still a massive queue."

Jonah says that before coming to college in Cork, international students are told what documentation to bring and what the process involves, but he didn't realise how bad the queues were going to be.

"People are queuing for hours in the rain, the doors don't open until 9am. There are students and families with children in buggies."

"There are 3000 international students in UCC alone, and 40,000 immigrants in Cork in general. People are missing class and work because of this, there are no weekend appointments."

Jonah, who is originally from Canada, says the online petition has now gathered over 200 signatures. He's hoping his petition will eventually contribute to changing the system to an online appointment booking system.

"Even if I don't see the change in my last two years here, if I know at one point it could help the thousands of immigrants that are affected by this, that's enough for me."

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