A new process is being introduced to make it easier for non-EEA (European Economic Area) partners of Irish citizens to live and work here.
Under the new preclearance rules, de facto partners will be able to apply for permission to reside in the country before travelling to Ireland.
A de facto partner refers to someone in a 'genuine and continuing' relationship that's similar to a marriage or civil partnership 'in practice though not in law'.
When preclearance is granted under the new system, applicants will be able to immediately register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) once they arrive here.
That means they will then be able to access the labour market straight away.
Previously it could take up to a year to go through the process.
Justice and Equality Minister Charlie Flanagan said he "hopes this will encourage more people to move home".
He explained: "In recent times, many of our young and our most highly educated citizens have emigrated. They may have wanted to further their careers, make more money, or simply to experience the wider world.
"While away, some have met life partners and perhaps even started their own families.
"We want to show these people that Ireland is ready to welcome them home and that we will provide a clear immigration and labour market pathway for their de facto partners.”
The Department of Justice says the new rules are conditional on a relationship, and the permission for a non-EEA citizen to stay here would end if the relationship end.
However, they say the new rules mean the immigration situation for de facto partners is now similar to non-EEA spouses and civil partners of Irish citizens.
Full details are available on the INIS website.
Main image: File photo of immigration control at Dublin Airport. Photo: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie