Government to allow 500 additional places for Afghan family members

Roderic O’Gorman says those arriving would not be going to direct provision

The Government has approved a programme that will provide up to 500 additional places for Afghan family members

Up to 500 Afghans fleeing turmoil in the country are to be given temporary residency rights in the State, under plans approved by the Government today.

The Cabinet considered a special-admission programme for family members of an estimated 1,200 Afghans living in Ireland which will see up to 500 of them brought to the State.

The plan was brought jointly by Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.


Under the terms of the programme, the Afghan nationals can apply for temporary residency if they are in Afghanistan or a neighbouring country, having fled.

The Government plans that the sponsoring family member in Ireland would accommodate the person seeking residency. It is believed this would mean there would not be a need for new accommodation associated with the programme.

Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman noted that those arriving would not be going to direct provision. He said they would initially be going to emergency reception and orientation centres and would subsequently be settled in accommodation across the country

The Department of Justice would operate the new scheme, while the Department of Children would support Afghan refugees through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, having offered refugee status to 400 Afghan citizens since the Taliban retook the country this summer.

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said “human rights abuses violence and fear of reprisals has led to a large number of displaced persons seeking asssistance”.

She said the programme 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 another neighbouring country to join them here in Ireland”

She said there were many in the Afghan community in Ireland who are deeply concerned for their family members. She said people would be able to stay for up to two years under the visa and would be able to apply uner other programmes.

Mr Humphreys said the move was in addition to 670 permissions granted to Afghan nationals to live in Ireland already this year with more under existing schemes.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times