Short film explores the reality of life for undocumented young people in Ireland

Young, Paperless and Powerful have released a short film about growing up undocumented in Ireland

Written by Hannah Byrne


A group of young undocumented migrants living in Dublin have released a short film to share what it’s like to grow up in Ireland undocumented.

Young, Paperless and Powerful (YPP) are a campaign group of undocumented young people who are supported by the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland (MRCI) in their fight for a path to papers for all undocumented children and young people in Ireland.

As part of their campaign, YPP have released a short film titled “This Is My Life: Growing up undocumented in Ireland” to share the reality of life as a young migrant with no papers in Ireland and how this can impact on education, employment, and overall mental wellbeing.

“We’re afraid of being forced to leave the only home we know”

Speaking at the launch of the short film, one member of YPP, 18 year old Prathna* who has been living in Ireland for more than a decade said: “Being undocumented affects every part of our lives. It adds an extra layer of stress and anxiety. At school, at home, at work, we’re never free from it. We’re afraid of being forced to leave the only home we know.”

This Is My Life: growing up undocumented in Ireland from Migrant Rights Centre Ireland on Vimeo.

Another undocumented young person, 19 year old Uzma* who grew up in Ireland said “We want a path to papers, not just for ourselves but for children younger than us and for anyone growing up undocumented in Ireland. We’re part of a community here, part of this city, part of this country.”

Undocumented young people in Ireland

It is estimated that there are 3,000 – 5,000 undocumented children and young people who were either born or grew up in Ireland. Most of these young people have no way of accessing long-term residency permission or citizenship, limiting their opportunities for study and work.

A recent poll in The Sunday Times found that 71% of people believe a child born in Ireland should be entitled to citizenship. YPP are asking for basic residency permissions that would give them some stability and allow them to plan for the future.

In their video, YPP outline some of the policies in other European countries that allow for undocumented young people to apply for documentation after a number of years with examples from Luxembourg, Norway, and France. YPP are calling on the Irish Government to introduce similar policies here.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

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