Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Ceisteanna (127)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

127. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the family reunification humanitarian assistance programme will be launched; the reason the programme was not launched in April 2018 as had previously been indicated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21640/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Last Saturday, 12 May, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, and I launched the first call for nominations under the Irish Humanitarian Admission Programme 2.  The scheme referred to by the Deputy is called the IHAP.  

I am pleased that the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) has completed its commitment to relocate people from Greece and that, since its inception, the overall programme has also surpassed its original commitments on resettlement. The second phase of the programme has now begun with increased commitments on resettlement and the commencement of the new Humanitarian Admission Programme. Operating under discretionary Ministerial powers, the Programme will provide an opportunity to people in Ireland, who have immediate family members affected by the unprecedented scale of mass displacement to nominate family members under this programme.

Under the IHAP, I wish to prioritise immediate family members in the most vulnerable situations internationally and following consultations with the UNHCR, persons from the following countries will be eligible under the scheme: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Burundi. These countries comprise the top ten major source countries of refugees listed in the UNHCR Annual Global Trends Report.

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 a key part of the IRPP and will 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 first call for proposals runs from 14 May until 30 June 2018 and further open calls will be scheduled in 2018 and throughout 2019. Full details of the programme and the relevant form are available on the INIS website (www.inis.gov.ie ) under the ‘Asylum’ heading.