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Claiming Asylum in Ireland

Foreign nationals fearing persecution in their home countries may be able to seek international protection in the Republic of Ireland.

For more information and/or legal advice about how to rightfully claim asylum in Ireland, whether you are eligible, or how you can prove the genuineness of your claim for protection, call us today on +353 061 518 025 to speak with our legal team.

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    Overview of Asylum in Ireland

    Historically speaking, the Irish government has always shown a positive attitude towards asylum seekers in the country. For example, 35% of the asylum seekers were granted refugee status or subsidiary protection in the country in 2022, compared to the average EU recognition rate of 34% as of 2021.

    However, a big surge in the number of asylum seekers in 2022, mainly because of the war in Ukraine, has resulted in immense pressure on the public resources in Ireland. Around 74,800 Ukrainian nationals were registered for temporary protection in Ireland as of February 2023, with approximately 48,000 of them living in state-provided accommodation.

    A recent expert report has warned that, although the attitude towards asylum seekers and refugees is generally positive and welcoming, this may change in future. The housing crisis, for example, is going to be worsened with many Ukrainian refugees opting to make Ireland their home for the foreseeable future, unless the Irish government comes up with revised policies and measures.

    However, the Irish government has stressed the fact many times in the recent past that the country welcomes, and is committed to providing for, people who genuinely require international protection.

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    Eligibility Requirements for Claiming Asylum in Ireland

    Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries to escape persecution in their home country.

    You will be eligible to seek international protection in Ireland if you have fled your home country fearing persecution for your ethnicity, religion, nationality, affiliation to a particular social group, political opinion etc. You will be granted refugee status in Ireland if you can prove that you have ‘well founded’ reasons for believing so.

    Alternatively, you may be granted subsidiary protection status in Ireland in case you do not qualify as a refugee but will be at risk of serious harm if you are made to return to your home country.

    The onus of proving either of the above is on the asylum seeker. If you can convince the Irish authorities that you have a genuine need of international protection, your asylum application may be granted even if you are coming from a ‘safe’ country.

    For example, although Georgia is considered to be a safe country, 20% of the asylum applicants from Georgia received refugee status in Ireland during the first semester of 2022.

    When Your Asylum Claim Might Not Be Considered in Ireland

    The International Protection Office (IPO) in Ireland handles the asylum applications. They will be checking the applicants’ biometric information (i.e. photo and fingerprints) against data held by Eurodac, before they go through the applications.

    While checking this data, if IPO has reason(s) to believe that an asylum application should be assessed in any of the other Dublin countries (i.e. the EU Member States, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein) instead, the case will no longer be considered in Ireland, and the applicant may be deported to that other country.

    IPO may make this decision because:

    • The applicant’s spouse/partner or children are currently seeking asylum, or already have received international protection, in another Dublin country
    • The applicant holds (or did so previously) a visa or residence permit in another Dublin country
    • The applicant’s fingerprints were taken in another Dublin country, or there is irrefutable evidence that they were in another Dublin country before coming to Ireland even if their fingerprints were not taken there

    How to Apply for Asylum in Ireland

    Overview

    To make an asylum application in Ireland, you will have to be in the country physically. You may either inform Irish immigration officers at your port of entry that you would like to apply for asylum or get in touch with the IPO in Dublin within five working days from the date of your arrival. Formal application at the IPO is mandatory in either case.

    If your minor children (i.e. under 18) are accompanying you, please ensure you are making an asylum claim on their behalf as well, unless they are Irish citizens already.

    Attend a Preliminary Interview

    The first step in your asylum application process is to attend a preliminary interview with either an Irish immigration officer or an officer from the IPO. Your interviewer will ask you about your identity, your nationality, how you have travelled to Ireland, and why you are seeking international protection.

    You will also have to provide your biometrics data, i.e. your facial image and fingerprint scans, at the IPO at this stage, if you are over 14 years of age. This data and the findings in your preliminary interview will be used to decide whether your claim can be considered in Ireland.

    Following the preliminary interview, you will be issued a temporary residence certificate, which will allow you to stay legally in Ireland while the IPO processes your asylum application.

    You will also be asked if you will need accommodation in Ireland, and if yes, the Reception Integration Agency (RIA) will arrange for a temporary place of residence for you and your accompanying family (if any) while your application is being decided.

    Complete International Protection Questionnaire

    Since November 2022, it has been made mandatory for any asylum seeker in Ireland to complete the International Protection Questionnaire. You will need to fill in the same on the same day of your preliminary interview.

    The goal is to gather more information about why you are seeking asylum in Ireland. It is crucial to provide accurate and detailed answers to the best of your abilities. If you cannot understand any question or need an English interpreter or a cultural support officer, please ask the IPO staff for help. Please also provide any relevant documents you may have with you that support your protection claim.

    You should consider seeking legal help at this point, as your lawyer can help you prepare for the questionnaire, and advise on what supporting documents you may need to submit.

    At IAS, we have the required competence and experience to assist you throughout your asylum application in Ireland. Reach out to our legal team on +353 061 518 025 to receive bespoke assistance and/or legal advice.

    Appear for a Personal Interview

    If the IPO decides that your asylum claim can be considered in Ireland, they will inform you in writing of a date and time for another interview. Usually, it takes months before an asylum applicant gets to appear for this interview, given the volume of asylum applications being handled by the IPO.

    Applicants from the designated ‘safe’ countries (e.g. Georgia, Albania, South Africa etc.), however, may be interviewed within a few weeks from the date of their asylum application at the IPO, to accelerate the process.

    You may ask an interpreter to be present during your interview in case you have difficulty in understanding or speaking in English. You may also ask to be interviewed by a male or female officer.

    During the personal interview, your interviewer will go through in detail the reason(s) why you have left your country, why you cannot return there, and why you are seeking asylum in Ireland. A written record of the interview will be prepared at the end, which you will need to read and sign.

    Please consider having your lawyer present with you during the interview, who can assist you throughout the process.

    Ensure a seamless asylum application process in Ireland with our expert assistance. Contact Us

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      Ireland Asylum Application Processing Time

      The IPO may take several months to come to a decision regarding your asylum application, depending on the volume of applications as well as the complexities involved in your case. The average processing time of asylum applications was 18 months in 2022.

      Once they have reached a decision, the IPO will make a recommendation to the government, and inform you and/or your lawyer of the same by registered post.

      If the IPO recommends granting you refugee status or subsidiary protection in Ireland, the Minister for Justice will send you the relevant declaration. However, the Minister may disregard the IPO recommendation if they consider there is a security risk involved.

      On the other hand, if the IPO decides that you should not be granted protection, the Minister of Justice will decide if you can be granted ‘Permission to Remain’ in the country.

      You will need to register with your local immigration office if you are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection in Ireland, or provided with permission to remain.

      Appealing an Asylum Decision

      If you are refused refugee status or subsidiary protection, you will have one right of appeal to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT).

      Your IPO decision letter will inform you of the timeframe within which you must appeal, and whether you can request an oral hearing of your case. Your lawyer may be present during your oral hearing, and the tribunal may also allow a witness to give evidence related to your case.

      If your appeal is successful, the Minister will grant you refugee status or subsidiary protection, as applicable.

      However, no appeal is possible in case you have been refused permission to remain. If your appeal is not successful, the Minister will review the decision regarding permission to remain, if you have submitted any new information since the original decision was made.

      You may also be granted permission to remain in Ireland if making you return to your home country will result in a situation where you will face serious threats to your life or freedom.

      It is recommended to register with the Legal Aid Board in Dublin, Cork or Galway, depending on your location, after submitting your asylum application in Ireland. Applicants who are earning less than €18,000 annually will be provided with free legal services by the Board.

      You may also consider consulting the Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Dublin.

      Alternatively, you may also hire a private immigration lawyer to advise and assist you through the various stages of your asylum application, and also represent you at the IPAT in case your case comes for appeal.

      Our team of legal experts can assist foreign nationals seeking asylum in Ireland. Contact us for assistance today. Contact Us

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        How IAS Can Help

        Claiming asylum in Ireland can be a complex process, depending on your circumstances. It is relatively easy to get asylum if your home country is at war or undergoing severe armed conflicts. In other cases, proving that your life and freedom are at risk in your country of origin can be a challenging task, especially if you are on your own.

        It is, therefore, advisable to seek legal representation. At IAS, we have a team of expert immigration advisers who can offer asylum advice and legal help if you are an asylum seeker in Ireland.

        We also offer emergency support in case you have been detained. We can provide a same-day advice session if you have an immigration emergency. Call +353 061 518 025 today to speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Since 26 January 2021, asylum applicants are allowed to work in Ireland if they are waiting for at least six months for the IPO decision regarding whether they will get protection in the country.

                  Once an asylum seeker has been granted international protection in Ireland, their spouse/civil partner and any children under 18 can join them in the country. If the applicant is a minor, their parents and minor siblings can join them in Ireland.

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