New Ireland’s temporary residence program for Afghans

A new program is designed for Afghan citizens in Ireland that allows them to apply for temporary residence for their certain family members who are trying to escape from the Taliban. This program is said to be opened this week.

The Department of Justice of Ireland affirmed that from Thursday the applications will be accepted for the Afghan Admission Program. The program will be closed on 10 February 2022, eight weeks after the application opening.

Under this scheme which was announced in September, 500 places are considered to be available. Under this program, those Afghan citizens who are legally living in Ireland before 1 September 2021 are eligible to nominate up to four members of their families. It doesn’t differ whether those family members are still in Afghanistan, or in any of the neighboring countries: Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

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As stated by the Department of Justice, this scheme covers spouses, de facto partners, civil partners, minor children, and adult children who are unmarried and are without dependents. Other qualified can include the applicant’s grandparent, a relevant child with no parent, or other single vulnerable who has no other supporters.

Helen McEntee, Minister for Justice, said that in processing applications, they will prioritize vulnerably, and those whose safety and freedom are at risk. According to him, the category includes; older people, children, single women, girls, single female parents, and those with disabilities. He added that those who are at risk due to their previous employment would also be prioritized.

The Minister for Justice said that she was conscious of the troubles Afghans faced due to the collapse of the former government and Taliban takeover. She also stated her understandings of the concerns the Afghan community living in Ireland faced in consequence of the collapse of the former Afghanistan government.

James Browne, Minister of State at the Department of Justice thanked the Afghans living in Ireland for their patience while they worked on the details of the program. He said that their aim is to assure the quickness in processing the applications and that criteria have been developed on this base. He added that he is looking forward to welcoming the Afghan family members to Ireland in the near future, under this scheme.

Calls on Expanding Scheme

Nick Henderson, the Irish Refugee Council Executive shared his strong welcome to the announcement, but he had some concerns regarding the schemes. He said that according to the aims of the program that they and other organizations have received from the sponsors, they are concerned that 500 places are, so far, too few. He also called for the limit of four grantees per household… so to apply flexibly in order to assure the maintenance of family unity.

Amidst the concerns about the troubles Afghan people are currently facing in providing travel and ID documents, Mr. Henderson said that it will be essential to deploy the program as to how the beneficiaries would be able to get the Irish travel documents even with no availability of passport.

The Immigration Council too welcomed the scheme announcement, pointing to the hundreds of questions asked by concerned Afghans living in Ireland from its information services since August.

Brian Killoran, Chief Executive CEO asked the Department of Justice to expand the program beyond 500 places. He also asked to broaden the eligibility criteria in order to cover more family members such as siblings and other extended families – complying with the norm of Afghan culture. Mr. Killoran Added that they are also expressing their concerns regarding other migrant rights groups now in the middle of the challenges for Afghan individuals that not only have access to their ID documents but also to send those documents safely to Ireland.

Application Form:

The application form and further guidelines will be found on the Irish Immigration website on the opening date stated above (16 December 2022)

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