Sunday 26 March 2017

Returning emigrants struggling with costs of re-sitting driving test

The Road Safety Authority authorises the exchange of licences with EU member states and a number of other countries including New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. However, it does not recognise driving licences issued in six of Canada’s provinces, or the USA. Photo: PA
The Road Safety Authority authorises the exchange of licences with EU member states and a number of other countries including New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. However, it does not recognise driving licences issued in six of Canada’s provinces, or the USA. Photo: PA

Greg Harkin

Returning emigrants are facing thousands of euro in extra costs through driving lessons and higher car insurance.

And some people returning home permanently from living in Canada are finding that driving licences obtained there may not be valid, depending on which province they lived in.

The Road Safety Authority authorises the exchange of licences with EU member states and a number of other countries including New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

However, it does not recognise driving licences issued in six of Canada's provinces, or the USA.

Only those issued in Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador can be swapped.

The RSA has been accused of putting unnecessary red tape in the way of returning emigrants.

"We have a crazy situation of young people who took driving tests in Quebec and drove in Ontario but they aren't allowed to drive when they come home here," said Donegal TD Pearse Doherty.

"My office has been inundated with young people who have come home to discover that their licences obtained abroad are not recognised here, including one man employed as a driver in Canada."

Emigrants face forking out up to €500 for mandatory driving lessons.

The RSA defended its system, saying it recognises only "similar licensing regimes".

Irish Independent

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