THE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION ACT 2015 AND ITS IMPACT ON REFUGEE FAMILY REUNIFICATION
The International Protection Act 2015, which came into effect on 31st December 2016, provides for a single application procedure for international protection. Under Section 2 of the Act, a person who qualifies for international protection is “a person who is either:
(a) a refugee and in relation to whom a refugee declaration is in force, or
(b) a person eligible for subsidiary protection and in relation to whom a subsidiary protection declaration is in force”
Some Key changes for Asylum Applications
- All information for all three applications for Refugee Status, Subsidiary Protection and Permission to remain under a single procedure will be taken at the same time (this means they will be processed at the same time).
- All information for all three applications Refugee, Subsidiary Protection, Permission to remain) must be recorded at the very beginning of the process.
- There will be new questionnaires and temporary residence certificates for all new applicants from the 31st December 2016.
- The Office of ORAC will now be referred to as the International Protection Office (IPO).
- The Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT) will now be called the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT).
- Leave to remain will now be known as Permission to remain.
Key changes for Family Reunification Applications.
- As of 31st December 2016 all new Family Reunification applications must be submitted within 12 months of receiving the Refugee Status or Subsidiary Protection.
- Previously under the 1996 Refugee Act, the Minister had discretion to grant permission to a dependent family member of a refugee to enter and reside in Ireland, these members could have been a grandparent, parent, brother, sister, child, grandchild, ward or guardian of the refugee. The most notable impact of the International Protection Act 2015 is now eligible Family members will only pertain to certain family members below:
- Spouses, civil partners (you must have been married at the time you submitted your Asylum application);
- Where the applicant is under 18 years of age, their parents and siblings under 18 who are unmarried.
- No other family members will be deemed eligible for family reunification.
- Once the family reunification is granted they will only have 12 months to arrive in Ireland.
- All applications received before the 31st of December will be processed under the 1996 Act not the new International Protection Act 2015.