Berkeley Solicitors, immigration law specialists, welcome the newly announced Humanitarian Admission Programme (IHAP). This programme is undoubtedly a positive development for many of our clients who could potentially benefit under this new scheme.
The Humanitarian Admission Programme 2, also known as “IHAP” allows naturalised Irish citizens, programme refugees, persons with Convention refugee status, and subsidiary protection status to apply for immediate eligible family members to join them in the State between May 14th 2018 and 30th June 2018. The scheme will therefore be closed on the 30th June 2018.
Up to 530 vulnerable family members will qualify for admission under the scheme. Beneficiaries accepted under the IHAP receive Programme Refugee Status from the Minister under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
In a press release dated the 12th May 2018 it is stated that the purpose of the scheme is to meet Ireland’s commitments in relation to the ongoing migration crisis. With this in mind, the scheme is limited to beneficiaries in states where they are in the “most vulnerable situations internationally”. In the press release Minister of State David Stanton TD states that:
“The IHAP is a humane and flexible response to the needs of those fleeing high-risk areas and will facilitate their reunion with family members in Ireland. The Programme reaffirms the Government’s commitment and ability to respond positively to humanitarian crises. Persons admitted under this programme will be part of the IRPP and will therefore receive a status in their own right rather than a dependency status on their family member. This is important for their long term integration and sense of belonging in our communities.”
The list of eligible countries is based on the UNHCR Annual Global Trend Reports which lists the top ten major source countries of refugees. INIS in their FAQ on the IHAP instructs that the current list of countries is “subject to change”. Beneficiaries must be nationals of one of the following countries to be eligible under the scheme:
- South Sudan
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Central African Republic
Those who are from one of the above eligible States must also fall under one of the categories provided under the Scheme. These are as follows:
- Adult Child (unmarried and without dependants)
- Minor Child (where the Minor Child is not eligible for reunification with a sponsor under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015. The Minor Child must be unmarried and without dependants)
- Parent (where not eligible for reunification with a sponsor under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015)
- A Minor Child for whom the Sponsor has parental responsibility (e.g. Orphaned Niece/Nephew/Grandchild, Sibling) (In certain circumstances, where a Sponsor does not have sole parental responsibility, the consent of the person that shares responsibility will be required)
- A vulnerable close family member for whom the Sponsor is the primary caregiver and who is not part of another family unit.
- The Sponsor’s spouse or civil partner as recognised under Irish law (where not eligible for reunification with a sponsor under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015) or the Sponsor’s de facto partner (may be granted to both opposite and same sex partners who have been together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership and have a mutual commitment to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others. The Sponsor must be in a position to provide sufficient evidence of a durable relationship.)
Under the IHAP scheme the Sponsor (i.e. the person residing in Ireland who is inviting a family member in the State) must themselves meet a number of requirements.
- The Sponsor must have been granted Convention refugee status, programme refugee status or subsidiary protection status in Ireland or be an Irish citizen
- The Sponsor must be residing in Ireland and complete the IHAP proposal on behalf of the family member they wish to join them in Ireland (i.e. the beneficiary)
- The Sponsor must be a person of “good character”.
While there are no explicit minimum financial requirements place on sponsors, such as a certain minimum income, nominations will be prioritised where the Sponsor is able to demonstrate that they can provide accommodation for their family member in Ireland. This is due to the ongoing housing crisis in Ireland.
There are no fees that must be paid by the sponsor to make an IHAP application. The sponsor may incur other costs relating to postage or translation for documents, if necessary.
One important point to note is that a proposal for a family member under IHAP cannot be made if there is an ongoing application for family reunification under the International Protection Act, 2015.
The introduction of IHAP is seen as a welcome change by Berkeley Solicitors. We hope that our clients eligible under this scheme have the opportunity to benefit. For further information on the scheme please see the INIS FAQ on IHAP and the IHAP application form., or contact our office by email or phone.