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Bernat Armangue

Temporary residence to be offered to 500 Afghans under new admissions programme

Priority for the scheme will go to the most vulnerable, like the elderly, women, girls and people with disabilities.

IRELAND IS TO offer temporary residence to 500 Afghanistan citizens as part of a new scheme from the Department of Justice.

The Afghan Admissions Programme will see 500 Afghan’s be granted temporary residence, with priority being granted to the most vulnerable, like the elderly, women, girls and people with disabilities.

Since August, Ireland had granted 500 humanitarian visas through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, with women, frontline workers, human rights activists, members of the LGBTQI+ community being offered these places.

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Helen McEntee announced a new pathway to citizenship scheme for undocumented migrants living in Ireland. Eligible applicants to the scheme will be able to remain and reside in the state by regularising their residency status.

The new programme will allow for 500 Afghan nationals to be granted temporary residence in Ireland, if a close family member is currently or had previously lived in Ireland up until 1 September. 

Each applicant can only apply to have four close family members achieve temporary residence. The programme is set to open for applicants from Thursday, 16 December and will remain open for eight weeks.

Those eligible for the scheme can be people currently living in Afghanistan or those who have fled to countries bordering Afghanistan.

Announcing the programme, McEntee said: “I am delighted to now be able to confirm that we are opening the Afghan Admission Programme for applications. I am very conscious of the plight faced by the Afghan people following the collapse of the former Afghan government and the takeover by the Taliban.”

A reversal of human rights, increased violence and fear of reprisals has led to a large number of displaced people seeking help. Understandably, it has also been a very worrying time for the Afghan community living in Ireland as they fear for the safety of their family members in Afghanistan or displaced to neighbouring countries.

“In processing applications, we will be prioritising those who are especially vulnerable and whose freedom and safety is most at risk, like older people, children, single female parents, single women and girls and people with disabilities.

“We will also give priority to people whose previous employment exposes them to greater risk, for example UN and EU employees and people who worked for civil society organisations.”

The programme is currently being coordinated by the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

As part of reunification efforts, statutory family reunification provisions have helped provide assistance to Afghan nationals, with McEntee saying that 110 Afghan nationals have been granted Family Reunification permission.

Alongside this, 102 Join Family visas have been issued to Afghan citizens since August.

“Combined with the 500 available places on the Programme that we are announcing today, this represents a very high level of support for the 1,200 strong Afghan community currently living in Ireland,” said McEntee.

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