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Help with Irish immigration
Thread poster: Lany Chabot-Laroche

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:54
Member (2009)
English to French
Jun 30, 2011

Hello, I'm really in a bind here and I need all the help that I can get.

I recently planned a 2 month trip to Ireland during which I would keep doing my freelancing activities. The problem is that Irish customs really didn't like that I would be working in their country, moreso because one of my clients is from Ireland. They say I need a work visa in that case.

In retrospect, I should have only told them I was visiting, but now the harm is done and they have given me two weeks to leave the country, instead of the two months planned, and my return ticket is not cancellable and my insurance won't cover being refused by customs as an excuse for cancellation.

I would like to know if any of you have a solution to solve this issue. I will call the customs again since the whole thing is a grey area, but I would need good arguments.

My Irish client proposed the following "Tell them you’ve come here as a tourist but that you would accept a translation project coming from CLIENT even during your stay in Ireland. There is nothing against immigration laws about that. You would work from here under the Canadian tax system anyway."

I would gladly just leave Ireland and go to another country for the other 6 weeks, but they ask that I show them a plane ticket headed back to my home country.

Any and all suggestions welcomed.


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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
Embassy? Jun 30, 2011

Couldn't you go to the Canadian embassy? They are bound to know whether you are in the right and maybe someone there can make a nasty phone call.

Failing that, the only thing that will help is probably a very good lawyer (someone from a world famous law firm), but he will cost you a lot, for a really straightforward business.

Or otherwise... Have you thought about going over the border into Northern Ireland. It's a bit drastic, but you don't need a visa and no work visa either (as far as I and my hubby know that is). Maybe worth looking into it.

Although, people, please correct me if i'm wrong.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I'm Irish Jun 30, 2011

Well, I'm Irish and if I went to Canada expecting to be able to work while I was there, I would expect the Canadian immigration authorities to act in a similar way to the Irish authorities. Remember also that were the Irish authorities to allow you in, you would immediately be entitled to work *anywhere in the European Union* which of course would not be acceptable.

Moreover: were you to try and get round this in some devious way and were they to find out about you, you might find yourself in deep, deep trouble. How badly do you need to stay in Ireland? And even if you did, how could you ever issue invoices, pay tax, etc? (I assume you *would* intend to pay tax, register for VAT, etc.???)

I would advise you to do what they told you to do.


[Edited at 2011-07-01 12:28 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Fly back home and come again? Jun 30, 2011

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:
In retrospect, I should have only told them I was visiting, but now the harm is done and they have given me two weeks to leave the country, instead of the two months planned, and my return ticket is not cancellable and my insurance won't cover being refused by customs as an excuse for cancellation.

Indeed. Unfortunately that was a beginner's mistake to be honest. I reckon the only solution is to find the cheapest flight back home you can find, then apply for a new visit to the country as a visitor, and start clean. Would that be an option?


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Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:54
Member (2009)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
No way Jun 30, 2011

I would not fly back home and back here after this. It would be costly, and there would be a big risk that they would just check my passport and figure it out right away.

I'll check with the embassy, but I think I'm pretty screwed right now.

North Ireland is out of the question, my plane ticket home is still in Ireland, and I would need to go back there, or leave from somewhere else and be in trouble.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 02:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ideas Jul 1, 2011

Two ideas come to mind:

1) I could tell you about the first idea that came rapidly to mind, but there's a significant risk that I, as a UK citizen, could be charged with aiding and abetting an illegal immigrant if I told you about it. So I won't. Even if you ask me privately.

2) Go back where you came from by the fastest route possible, regardless of cost, and stay there until you have understood the benefits of playing by the rules.

MediaMatrix


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The Misha
Local time: 00:54
Russian to English
+ ...
I fail to see what the big deal is Jul 1, 2011

They are concerned about you being employed in their country, as they should be. You are not an employee, you are a business person, and there shouldn't be anything in any laws about traveling for business or doing some business even when on a personal trip. As long as your Irish client remits the money directly to your account in Canada, or whatever your current arrangement is, it's really none of their concern.

That said, this is an issue for an Irish lawyer, not us lay folks here. Don't you take anything any of us says at face value. We are all speculating.

Just curious, why the heck did you even tell them?


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NR_Stedman  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:54
French to English
This is a bit of a grey area Jul 1, 2011

Bad luck Lany, unfortunately you seem to have been almost too honest. Would they have minded if your client was outside Ireland? There are quite a lot of European texts about freelance workers who operate in several different countries as this area is much greyer than some of the other comments would suggest. Artists and photographers never stop work - are Canadian artists/photographers not allowed to sketch or take photographs when they come to Ireland in case they later sell their work in Ireland? There may be a double-taxation agreement between Canada and Ireland allowing you to only pay your taxes and social charges in your main country of residence irrespective of where you go on holiday etc.

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
German to English
The only way out is out Jul 1, 2011

As Tom says, if an EU citizen were to fly into Canada and tell the immigration official that they were going to be working while in the country (whether or not for a Canadian company), they'd ask where that person's work permit was. And, absent a work permit, they'd no doubt be put on the next plane back to their home country.

It's exactly the same scenario when I fly into the United States (at least once a year). The immigration official asks what the purpose of my visit is and if it's business, e.g. a conference, I tell them upfront. I'm then normally instructed that I may not work for hire in the U.S., and get the standard three-month visa. I certainly don't do anything daft like start working as a freelance translator in the U.S.

I don't see your case as a grey area at all. And I'm sure the consular section at the Canadian embassy in Dublin will basically tell you go away and stop wasting their time. After all, you've broken the law and you're not in prison (which is when consulates start taking an interest in their citizens' welfare).

I think you have two alternatives: Find (and pay for) an immigration lawyer, asap, who will advise you on the merits of appealing the decision by the Irish immigration authorities.

Or leave the country within the specified period, and take the hit on buying a new ticket (or rescheduling your existing flight). And don't think about returning to Ireland for quite a while.

Otherwise you risk having an "Entry denied" or "Deported" stamp in your passport, which in turn will probably prevent you from entering *any* EU country for many years to come (and quite possibly other countries as well).

Just chalk it down to experience.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Check with your Embassy Jul 1, 2011

I really find this most confusing and wonder if you haven't got someone's back up so they just want to throw you out: all too easy to do with customs officials sometimes.

Surely, you aren't proposing to actually work IN Ireland, are you? That implies owing money to the Irish authorities and complying with Irish emp;oyment law. You're working in Canada, but temporarily on location, physically, in Ireland. You're paying taxes in Canada, sending invoices from your Canadian addresses and being paid into a Canadian bank account (or PayPal etc where your registered address is in Canada).

I feel sure that someone, somewhere can sort this out. The problem will be the who and where.


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NR_Stedman  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:54
French to English
Quite an important subject then Jul 1, 2011

There must be lots of American translators who come and see their families in Europe for a long stay and do a bit of work while they are here and vica versa. Is this illegal then? Very few active people switch off while they are travelling and everyone works and travels all the time now.
What I do agree with is now you are in trouble with the customs you must do as they say until the matter is sorted out.


[Edited at 2011-07-01 09:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-07-01 09:18 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 06:54
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I'd talk to the embassy Jul 1, 2011

Contrary to what some posters here seem to think, this shouldn't really be an immigration/work visa issue. You're not taking a job as an employee in Ireland, you're doing your freelance work for international clients while still paying your taxes in Canada. That's a whole different ball game.
I would call the embassy, perhaps they can get this concept into the thick heads of immigration officers.
Obviously, telling them that you'll be working in Ireland was a rookie mistake... If you didn't come to the country in order to work at the premises of a client, and you're essentially on holiday and doing some freelance jobs for international clients as and when projects come your way, you should just have told them you're on holiday. It seems that immigration officers equate "work" with "employment", which has all sorts of implications (social insurance, expected long-term stay, taxes etc).


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NR_Stedman  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:54
French to English
For musicians Jul 1, 2011

I had a look at the American Embassy site: for musicians


We are musicians who are recording in the United States; what type of visas do we require?

A B-1 visa, or visa free travel is appropriate if you will utilize recording facilities for recording purposes only; the recording will be distributed and sold only outside the United States; and, there will be no public performances.


I think then that you are OK if your translation is only sold and distributed outside Ireland.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
German to English
Sheila's comments sound reasonable Jul 1, 2011

Hello Lany,
I would think that your place of business remains your address in Canada and that your work therefore continues to be done from there, even if you are physically somewhere else.

However, if you work for your client on site or stay longer than half of a year, then I would agree with Robin and Tom. In fact, I would say that any kind of non-standard contact with your Irish customer or with any potential Irish customers might cause problems.

Hypothetically speaking:
If I spend two weeks on Mallorca and do some work while I'm there, that can't possibly mean that I have to register a business with the Spanish authorities and then close it again after two weeks, charge Spanish VAT and receive Spanish VAT-refunds, etc., register and cancel Spanish benefits, register for and then cancel Spanish income tax. That makes no sense. If I were to get into a legal conflict with a German client, would we have to go to court on Mallorca? If I were to do work while visiting Hamburg, would I have to go to court there? Would I have to send my VAT to the local tax authorities? The logical answer is no, your work is simply carried out at your place of business unless you live somewhere else for tax purposes (183+ days) or work for a client on site.

If you did on-site work for an Irish customer, then you almost certainly violated the provisions of your tourist visa. Otherwise, I would say that you are not working in Ireland (in a legal sense).

I would call immigration and say, I'm sorry, I was wrong, I am not working in Ireland: I am working in Canada although I happen to be in Ireland. And then ask if that makes sense to the immigration official. If not, find legal help.

Sincerely,
Michael


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Stefan Blommaert  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:54
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
consult a solicitor Jul 1, 2011

My only advice would be to consult an immigration solicitor.

Being a European citizen married to a Brazilian citizen, and living in the UK, I have recently run into the peculiarities of these people (immigration), and can assure you that they are very often functioning on a more than basic level, often ignoring the basic legal rules...and definitely lacking any basic interhuman skills...Better not try to deal with them yourself...my personal reaction to our last reentry into the UK (upon which my spouse was treated like a dog) was to ask them if they actually belonged to the human race....normal reaction, but one that wouldn't really have helped...Therefore: SOLICITOR!...better to "outsource" that kind of contacts.

[Edited at 2011-07-01 10:19 GMT]


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