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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Ministers James Browne TD, Heather Humphreys TD and Roderic O’Gorman TD hosting a post-cabinet press conference today.
# Afghanistan
Government agrees to provide up to 500 extra places for Afghan family members
More than 670 Afghan nationals have already been granted permission to reside in the State so far this year.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 28th 2021, 4:49 PM

UP TO 500 Afghan nationals are to be allowed live in Ireland with their family members under a new admission scheme announced by the Cabinet today. 

The Afghan Admission Programme will see family members of the estimated 1,200 Afghan nationals already living in Ireland granted temporary residency rights in 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.

“Since the beginning of this most recent crisis in Afghanistan, Ireland has acted swiftly and compassionately to demonstrate our support and solidarity with the Afghan people. What has been agreed by Government today is a further concrete demonstration of that support,” Humphreys said today.

Under the new programme, Afghans living in Ireland on or before 1 September will be able to apply to nominate up to four close family members meeting the eligibility criteria and who are currently living in Afghanistan or who have fled to certain neighbouring countries. 

Eligible family members will be granted a residence permission that allows them immediate access to the labour market, without the need for an employment permit.

More than 670 Afghan nationals have already been granted permissions to reside in the State so far this year. 

Ireland has also offered humanitarian-access places to 400 Afghanistan citizens through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) since July, meaning they will be granted asylum if they arrive in Ireland.

Speaking today on whether 500 places is enough, Humphreys said: “This is a specific programme to target a larger number of people, up to 500, and we will see how it goes. It’s demand-led, and of course, we will review it at the end of the application process,” she said. 

Humphreys also said the government will be working “very closely” with Afghan families here if they wish to evacuate their relatives from Afghanistan.

“They will have the information on the ground about their relatives. It will be up to them to get to this country, but we will be providing the visas so that they will be able to come here and be allowed to stay for up to two years, and then they will be able to apply under our other programmes.”

The programme, including the eligibility criteria and the application process, will be developed over the coming months.

Applications will open in December, with an appeals process for unsuccessful applicants also set to be established.


Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy has also today announced an additional €2 million of Irish Aid support for the people of Afghanistan.

‘‘I am deeply concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” Brophy said.

“The country is facing a deadly combination of conflict, disease, drought and hunger,” the Minister said.

Over 18 million people – almost half the population- are in need of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

“One in three Afghans is facing crisis levels of food insecurity and more than half of all children under-five are at risk of acute malnutrition. To respond to this crisis, I have allocated €2 million in additional Irish Aid support.”

The funding will support the work of UNICEF and the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund.

UNICEF is working to improve the educational, health and nutritional status of affected children, with a particular focus on girls.

The UN managed Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund supports NGOs and other humanitarian partners on the ground to provide life-saving assistance such as food, shelter and protection to the most vulnerable women, men and children.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin


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