A scheme to regularise thousands of undocumented migrants living here will be open to applications on 31 January.

In a statement, the Minister for Justice confirmed the starting date, adding that applications will be open for six months until 31 July 2021, when the scheme will close.

It is estimated there are around 17,000 undocumented persons, including up to 3,000 children.

Applicants to the scheme must be living here for a period of four years, or three years in the case of those with children.

Successful applicants will receive immigration permission, access to the labour market and can begin the path to citizenship.

A fee of €700 will generally apply to family unit applications.

According to the Department of Justice, those applying must meet standards regarding good character and criminal behaviour and not pose a threat to the State.

Having convictions for minor offences will not, of itself, result in disqualification.