Just to update you guys on my experience with INIS and requesting freedom of information on my file. I hope this helps others to understand the INIS system and reduce the amount of speculations.
I applied in September 2017 and still waiting to get a decision, I asked for a copy of my file under the FOI act. I received a copy within 3 weeks containing around 100 pages, 70 pages were the one I submitted with my application, and 25 pages were written status inquiry by me, and TDs on my behalf and their responses. Department produced 5 pages during the last 17 months and did the following steps;
1. My file arrived in the department on 1st September and somebody stamped [Received] on my form 8 with the date of 1st September and pasted registered post tracking code on the file.
2. On 4th September a staff member printed receipt of the processing fee, entered my stamps details in residency calculator to see days are complete, wrote down that I ticked no to more than 6-week absence question and then signed the printed residency calculator saying “residency satisfied”
3. She printed history of my visits and stamps assigned during my visits to the Immigration office, so kind of print out of records what immigration officer enters during the visit for stamp renewal. Matched it with stamps on my passport.
4. She printed two checklists, the first checklist has years of my residency written on rows e.g. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 … 2017 and in the columns there were different documents name e.g. p60, unemployment, utility, mortgage, child and social welfare, school, bank, employer and payslip. Each row box has 12 tiny boxes so kind of a box for each month in a year. She ticked p60 for each year, bank statement for the last 8 months, and 3 recent pay slips, and draw a single line for all years on the employer because I have the same employer throughout. She didn’t bother to tick utility, unemployment or other boxes, as I assume it was obvious from employer letter that I am in continuous employment.
5. The second checklist has around 25 questions, a group of questions (10-12) about documents such as passport is genuine, psc provided, valid gnib card, signatures match, date of birth match, address match etc (this is an initial stage). While another set of questions about immigration history, any alert, deportation or refugee status. Then a couple of question about security, criminal record, PSNI and Garda vetting. There was no issue in my case, as everything was in order. So she signed the checklist with her name, dated (4th September) and then issued me a second stage letter on the same day.
6. On 4th September, she also issued a request for my Garda Vetting. On 7th September someone seniors counter checked my file and signed it as well.
7. My Garda report came back in 3 weeks, there is a stamp of [Received] on the report dated 28th September (by now I was in the advanced stage, waiting to be included in submission batch).
Ideally, this was such a straight forward case, the second stage in 3 days, Garda vetting back in 3 weeks. Should be all done and dusted within a month. But then nobody touched my file for over a year (only God knows what were they doing with my file during this time). There is no paper trail or dates marked on my file for the whole year. When I pushed the department by asking a TD to write the department on my behalf, her mail got forwarded to the person dealing my file and then simply someone with senior position signed on the checklist just before last November ceremony, right below where it says, checked by senior officer, included in the submission group.
I am amazed how this department works, so during all these times when I called 20-30 times, sent the same amount of email inquiries, even sent written letters but nothing happened and no one touched my file. I believe it only got signed when a TD wrote on my behalf to them.
I wish they could realize people life-defining decisions are at their hands, but they simply enjoy dealing these applicants like garbage, if you are lucky it gets their attention otherwise your applicant lies there rotting and nobody cares…..
Disclaimer: I changed the exact dates but kept the gaps same just to conceal my identity. These are my assumptions regarding stages after looking at the copy of my file held by the department.