Information note on the new single procedure process for international protection applicants
Posted On: February 2, 2017
People in the asylum process, who have pending applications for refugee status and subsidiary protection or had a case before the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (now the International Protection Appeals Tribunal) are receiving an information note, a letter and a Questionnaire from the new International Protection Office (formerly the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner – ORAC). The information note and letters will be available in English and 17 other languages. Copies of the International Protection Office (IPO) information note and the different letters are available on their website: http://www.ipo.gov.ie/
This process is happening as the asylum process changes to a single procedure, in which refugee status and subsidiary protection are considered together, along with any other reasons why you should be granted permission to remain in Ireland.
This is an information note about this process and to explain how we can help. We will update this information note as we know more.
What if I haven’t received this letter?
We understand that the English application packs will be sent out first and application packs in other languages will follow shortly after.
At what stage is my case at?
The IPO have separated cases into four categories, depending on which stage your case is at.
Which category does my case fall in to?
Category 1: I made an application for refugee status before 31.12.2016 and I have not received a decision on that application.
Category 2: I made an application for refugee status which was refused by ORAC, which I appealed to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT) but I have not had a decision from the RAT.
Category 3: I made my application for subsidiary protection before 31.12.2016 and consideration of my application has not started, i.e. I have not been interviewed in relation to my application.
Category 4: I made an application for subsidiary protection and consideration of my application has already started, i.e. I have been interviewed in relation to my application.
What should I do with the Questionnaire?
Depending on which category you fall into, you may have to complete different parts of the Questionnaire. The information note included with your Questionnaire will indicate which sections of the Questionnaire need to be completed, depending on which category your case falls into.
I am worried I cannot complete the Questionnaire in 20 working days:
The IPO information note states: “You should return the Questionnaire (IPO 2) along with any additional information that you are relying on in support of your application for international protection and for permission to remain (if any), if possible, no later than 20 working days”.
There may be many situations where it is not possible to complete the Questionnaire in this period of time: your lawyer may not be able to see you immediately; if you do not have a lawyer you may need time to find a lawyer; you may also need time to gather evidence.
If you are in this situation you should contact the IPO, by email or letter, and say why you cannot complete the Questionnaire in the 20 day period, for example for one of the reasons set out above and request more time. This twenty day deadline is not a ‘statutory’ deadline.
Should I get legal advice before completing the Questionnaire?
Yes. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before completing the Questionnaire.
The IPO also recommends that people should obtain legal advice before completing their Questionnaire.
What happens after I submit my Questionnaire?
You will be called for an interview. It is likely that oldest cases will be interviewed first. Some cases may be prioritised. We understand the basis on which cases will be prioritised will be made public in the coming weeks. It is important to note that the IPO has said that interviews “may not be scheduled for a number of months due to the large number of applications to be processed by the IPO.” Do not worry or panic if you do not get your interview date immediately.
What if I need to update information in the future?
The IPO states that you can submit additional information after you have submitted the Questionnaire. They ask that this be submitted no later than two weeks before the date of your interview.
How the Irish Refugee Council can help:
Our Drop in Centre may be able to help in writing to the IPO if you need more time to find a lawyer. We may also be able to refer you to another organisation that can help you. We can also try to explain this process in more detail. We may not be able to assist you immediately but we will try to make an appointment for you for a later date.
In the event that you do not have a lawyer, our Law Centre may also be able to provide legal representation in relation to your claim.
IRC Drop in Centre
37 Dame St.
Telephone: (01) 764 5854 | Fax: 01 672 5927
Our Drop In service is free and confidential. We are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday every week from 10am – 1pm & 2pm – 4pm.
Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre
37 Dame Street
Telephone: (01) 764 5061 | Fax: (01) 685 3547