The Government has said it will be taking in approximately 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers as Ireland’s contribution to the European refugee crisis, and it has been estimated that, with family reunification, this is likely to eventually result in 20,000 people coming here.
However, Fiona Finn, chief executive of the Cork-based immigrant support organisation Nasc, and a member of the McMahon working group on the asylum system, said the number of people who come here under the family reunification rules will be “significantly less” than has been presumed because of measures contained in the International Protection Bill.
She said the proposed new regime will be significantly more restrictive than the one currently in operation when it comes to family reunification.
Under the current system, adults granted asylum can be joined by their spouses and their children under 18, and can apply to the Minister for Justice and Equality for dependent family members, be they parents, siblings or other family members, to be allowed join them here. The decision is at the discretion of the Minister.
Nasc solicitor Fiona Hurley said refugee families were typically not classic nuclear families and that the current regime allowed for applications to have wards, grandparents and siblings come to Ireland. “All that will be gone,” she said.
Under the proposed new regime, only spouses and civil partners who are married at time of the asylum application, and their children under the age of 18, can come here under reunification rules, Ms Finn said.