The Irish Refugee Council today welcomed the Department of Justice’s announcement of an Afghanistan admissions programme. Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, stated:

 “We strongly welcome this announcement; the scheme has the potential to be a lifeline for people whose lives have been in turmoil since August 2021 and the takeover of the Taliban. This is the second scheme (further to the regularisation scheme announced on 3 December) that aims to support people in vulnerable situations, both here and abroad.”

 “However, it is important to flag possible omissions that may undermine the programme. Based on the interest in the programme that we and other organisations have received from potential sponsors, we are concerned that 500 is too few places. Also, as we have previously stated, the limit of four beneficiaries per household will have to be applied flexibly to ensure family unity is maintained.”

 “To enable safe passage to Ireland, it will be necessary to operate the scheme so that successful beneficiaries are issued Irish travel documents even when they do not have a passport available. The financial requirements risk excluding people who arrived in Ireland and were recognised as refugees recently and have not had adequate time to establish themselves, as well as those with disabilities or caring responsibilities. It will also be important to provide people who arrive under the scheme unrestricted permission to reside so that they can build their independence in Ireland and integrate fully.”


 Notes for editors:

  • The Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre has so far submitted visa applications on behalf of 60 sponsors in Ireland, and are working through a further 105. Its pro bono partners have submitted more than 30 applications. At least 50 people we are working with are preparing to apply for this Admission Programme.