Dublin government approves 500 additional places for Afghan family members
The Dublin government has approved a programme that will provide up to 500 additional places for Afghan family members.
This will be in addition to the 670 Afghan nationals who have already been granted permission to live in the Republic this year.
There are 1,200 people currently living in the Republic's Afghan community and the new Afghan Admission Programme will allow 500 of their family members to move to the state.
However, the family members will have to find their own way to the Republic and will only be provided with Government assistance once they arrive.
Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the Government had been working with non-government organisations that are offering support to people trying to leave Afghanistan.
“There are ways out of the country. There are intermittent flights from Afghanistan, from Kabul, into Qatar, obviously there’s land borders as well so we will work with NGOs and look to try and support others as much as we can,” Mr O’Gorman said.
Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said the Afghan families living in Ireland will have information about their relatives that will help them get to Ireland.
Ms Humphreys said the new arrivals will be able to stay up to two years and will then have to apply to remain in Ireland under other refugee programmes.
The Fine Gael minister added: “The Government is very conscious of the plight faced by the Afghan people following the collapse of the former Afghan government and the takeover by the Taliban.
“This is further fuelled by the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and human rights abuses, violence and fear of reprisals has led to a large number of displaced persons seeking assistance.
“The new scheme, which demonstrates our support for people in Afghanistan, will allow current or former Afghan nationals living in Ireland to apply to bring their close family members who are vulnerable in Afghanistan or who have fled to a neighbouring country to join them here in Ireland.
“We know that there are many within the Afghan community in Ireland who are deeply concerned for their family members.
“This is in addition to 670 permissions granted to Afghan nationals to live in Ireland already this year, with more under existing schemes expected in the weeks and months ahead.
“Since this crisis began, the Government has acted swiftly and compassionately to show our support and solidarity for the Afghan people.”
Ms Humphreys said the programme was demand-led and would be reviewed at the end of the application process.
Mr O’Gorman said that of the humanitarian visas already granted, about 150 Afghan people had arrived in Ireland.
“The type of people that are receiving these humanitarian visas are people who are frontline human rights defenders, people who are working to support women’s NGOs, journalists, members of the LGBTI community and other people who are particularly vulnerable to the Taliban takeover,” Mr O’Gorman added.
“These people are joining the Irish refugee protection programme, they have full refugee status on their arrival here in Ireland, and they will be provided with the supports that the Irish Refugee Protection Programme offers.”
The Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration James Browne, said: “I am very conscious of the very tragic circumstances that the Afghan people find themselves in, with the loss of democracy, the threat in particular to women, children, minorities, and journalists.
“Human rights have been removed and violence has been put in its place.”