· MINISTER FLANAGAN TODAY BRIEFED GOVERNMENT ON PROPOSALS FOR 530
FAMILY REUNIFICATION PLACES OVER 2 YEARS
· SCHEME TO FOCUS ON IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS FROM UNHCR-ESTABLISHED
· MINISTER WILL USE DISCRETIONARY POWERS TO INTRODUCE NEW SCHEME
· IN ADDITION, IRELAND TO ACCEPT LARGEST EVER NUMBER OF NEW REFUGEES IN
2018 AND 2019 AS PART OF OVERALL COMMITMENTS
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and his
colleague, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality,
Immigration and Integration, David Stanton T.D., have proposed a new scheme
of family reunification in support of refugees and their families, as part
of the Government’s commitments under the Irish Refugee Protection
Programme. Minister Flanagan briefed Cabinet on the proposals today
Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Minister Flanagan outlined proposals
for a new Family Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme (FRHAP).
Outlining the details of the programme, Minister Flanagan said:
“We recently had detailed discussions on family reunification in the
Seanad and, having carefully considered the views of parliamentary
colleagues, Minister Stanton and I are pleased to announce this new scheme
which will see up to 530 family members of refugees from UNHCR-recognised
conflict zones to come to Ireland as part of our overall Refugee Protection
“Family reunification is an important part of the process of integration
for refugees in Ireland. I will operate this humanitarian admission
programme under my Ministerial discretionary powers and it will be in
addition to the family reunification provisions provided for in the
International Protection Act 2015.”
Minister Flanagan also announced an increase in the number of new refugees
to be resettled in Ireland over the next two years:
“We have increased our resettlement commitment for 2018 to 600 refugees and
we have made a new pledge to resettle an additional 600 refugees in 2019.
These are the largest pledges that the State has made for resettlement in a
calendar year since our national resettlement programme began in 2000. It
signifies our ongoing commitment to supporting the most vulnerable refugees
by providing a safe haven and a welcoming environment to rebuild their
lives here in Ireland. I am proud of the compassionate and welcome response
of the Irish people to those fleeing harrowing conflicts, particularly in
These pledges have been made in the context of a European Commission/UNHCR
resettlement pledging exercise for 2018/2019, which aims to provide 50,000
resettlement places across the European Union over the two-year period.
Additional details on the operation of the programme will be announced on
the websites of the Department of Justice and Equality (www.justice.ie) and
the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie) in the
Welcoming the announcement of these measures, Minister of State, David
Stanton, T.D., said:
“As the expected numbers under the EU Relocation Programme did not become
available to Member States, including Ireland, Minister Flanagan and I have
been proactively examining the ways in which the State can fulfil its
outstanding commitment under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
Increasing our resettlement commitments allows us to continue our tradition
of supporting the most vulnerable refugees, as identified by UNHCR. As a
complementary measure, we are providing persons granted status, including
those who have been admitted under the IRPP, with an opportunity to have a
limited number of additional members of their immediate family join them in
Ireland under family reunification. This is a humane approach, which is in
keeping with the family values at the heart of Irish society. I am sure
that they will receive the same warm and generous welcome that the people
of Ireland have provided to refugees and asylum seekers under the IRPP”.
Both Ministers acknowledged the continued support and cooperation of their
Ministerial colleagues in implementing the Irish Refugee Protection
Programme and the provision of services and supports for asylum seekers and
refugees as part of a “whole-of-Government” approach.
Note for Editors
· The Government established the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP)
in September 2015 as part of the State’s humanitarian response to the
migration crisis in Southern Europe. The State agreed to accept up to
4,000 asylum seekers and refugees overall into Ireland under relocation
and resettlement programmes at the earliest time possible.
· Ireland voluntarily opted into the two EU Council Decisions on
Relocation (2015/1523) and (2015/1601), which provided for the
relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece.
· By early 2018, Ireland will have admitted its entire cohort from Greece
under the relocation programme (1,089) and will have admitted double our
original commitment of 520 under the European Commission’s July 2015
Resettlement scheme (1,040). Relocation from Italy has not proven
possible within the two-year timeframe of the relocation programme, due
to a refusal by the Italian authorities to allow security assessments of
candidates on its soil.
· By the end of the two-year EU Relocation Programme in September 2017,
37,000 asylum seekers were eligible and registered for relocation in
Italy and Greece, of which 78% (approximately 29,000) had been relocated
to other EU Member States including Ireland.
· To address the balance of approximately 1,800 people under the IRPP,
additional resettlement pledges have been made for 2018 and 2019 and the
Minister has announced the establishment of a new Family Reunification
Humanitarian Admission Programme (FRHAP).
· The FRHAP programme will address the issue of family reunification for
some immediate family members coming from UNHCR-established conflict
zones and are outside the scope of the International Protection Act
2015. The 2015 Act provides for the family reunification of immediate
family members (spouse, civil partner and minor children) in line with
the permissions operated by other EU Member States under the EU Family
Reunification Directive (in which Ireland does not participate).
· This humanitarian admission programme will operate under the Minister’s
discretionary powers and is expected to provide for the reunification of
more than 500 vulnerable family members over the next two years. To
allow the maximum number of families to benefit from the scheme sponsors
will be asked to prioritise a small number of family members for
admission. To minimise the impact on an already strained national
housing supply, priority may be given to sponsors who can meet the
accommodation requirements of eligible family members.