Subsidiary protection can be granted to an asylum seeker who does not succeed in being recognised as a refugee through the asylum process (according to the definition above) but is recognised as needing international protection. In European law, Directive 2004/83/EC defines the minimum standards for qualifying for subsidiary protection status.
What is an asylum seeker entitled to in Ireland?
Asylum seekers generally live in direct provision accommodation centres around the country, meaning they are provided with accommodation and food, but with little privacy or independence. More recently, asylum seekers are accommodated in emergency accommodation centres while waiting for a place in a direct provision accommodation centre. Asylum seekers receive €38.80 per week per adult, and €29.80 per child to cover essential items such as toiletries, clothes, phone calls and local travel. Asylum seekers who are six months in the country and still in the application process are permitted to work. Asylum seekers are entitled to a medical card and medical services. Adult asylum seekers cannot avail of free state third-level education courses but a number of sponsored spaces are available. Asylum seekers are not allowed to temporarily leave the country while still in the asylum, leave to remain or subsidiary protection process.
The numbers of people applying for asylum in Ireland has been falling since 2002 (when 11,634 people applied for asylum). In 2013 it had dropped to 946 applications. Since 2016 applications average around 3000 per year. The efficiency of the asylum system is key. In Ireland, it can take several years for decisions to be reached (information from RIA). There are currently 6500 people in direct provision and emergency accommodation centres, and approximately 1500 have been in direct provision centres for over 3 years. Several hundred of the residents in direct provision centres have refugee status but they cannot find accommodation due to the housing crisis. www.ria.gov.ie/en/RIA/Pages/2018_Statistics
What about young asylum seekers?
Children are housed with their parent/s usually in direct provision centres; approximately 1700 of the 6500 residents in direct provision centre are under 18. If a child under 18 years arrives in Ireland without parents or guardians, and seeks asylum, he/she is called a ‘Separated Child Seeking Asylum’ or an ‘unaccompanied minor’. These children come under the care of TUSLA, as well as the Social Work Team for Separated Children Seeking Asylum being involved in their care, and these young people can attend school until completing the Leaving Certificate. They will have a social worker assigned to them. They reside in residential units, supported lodgings, or in foster homes throughout the country. They are not entitled to free state education beyond secondary school but can apply for sponsored places. Once they turn 18, they are moved to Direct Provision or Emergency Centres with other adult asylum seekers – a term known as aged out.
What is a refugee entitled to in Ireland?
Once granted refugee status, a refugee is granted the right to reside in Ireland for at least three years, which is renewable (see section 54 of the International Protection Act). A refugee enjoys rights and responsibilities similar to those of an Irish citizen. Refugees also have the right to apply for family reunification in Ireland with immediate family members (within certain criteria) who may be in different countries. A refugee can to apply for Irish citizenship when they have been resident in Ireland 3 years from the date of their asylum application. A refugee can apply for a Travel Document which allows refugees to travel and return to Ireland without a re-entry visa. However, travel documents are not accepted in some countries.
People with subsidiary protection are given many of the same rights as an Irish citizen. They must apply for renewal of their Stamp 4 according to the conditions stated on their immigration documents.
Who is a Migrant Worker?
A migrant worker is a person who is working in a state of which s/he is not a national. A migrant worker can be documented or undocumented.
What is a Work Permit?
A Work Permit gives permission for a migrant worker to be employed in a specific job. The employer must show that there are no Irish or EU candidates available to fill the position. A Work Permit can be applied for either by the employee or the employer. It is normally issued for two years and can be renewed for three years.
A special type of work permit can be issued for selected professional areas and for jobs with a salary of €60,000 and over. It is valid for 2 years.
What about the children of migrants?
There is a considerable degree of misunderstanding around the immigration rules in relation to children. Non-EU children living in Ireland must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) when they turn 16 where they will be issued with an immigration stamp. However, there is a lack of appropriate, clear regulations on what the appropriate stamp should be. Some young people can be issued with stamps that are for second level students who come to Ireland for education (Stamp 2A). Others will be issued with Stamp 2 which is for 3rd level students coming to Ireland to study. Neither of these is appropriate for young people living in Ireland several years. Sometimes the child will be given a Stamp 3 which is issued to dependents. Some stamps (2A and 3) will mean the young person cannot work. Schools also can be confused about whether a child should be expected to have a registration card and can often request one when the child is under 16.
Long-term residency in Ireland?
An individual who has been legally resident in Ireland for over five years (60 months) on the basis of an employment permit can apply to the Department of Justice and Equality for a five-year residency permit. In calculating their 5 years/60 months in the country, only time spent on an employment permit is counted. Time spent as a student or undocumented is not. Once granted a long-term residency permit, the individual no longer needs a work permit. This is called a Stamp 4.
Non-EEA citizens may be permitted to remain in Ireland. (EEA is any country outside EU, Norway, Switzerland or Iceland) based on a number of grounds including:
- for employment
- to study
- to operate a business, or
- as a dependant family member of an Irish or EEA (European Economic Area) citizen residing in the State.
Permission is given on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality in the form of a stamp on the person’s identification card issued from GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau). Permission needs to be renewed on a regular basis. See www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Home
‘Irish-born Child’ and residency
Until January 2005, any child born on the island of Ireland was entitled to Irish citizenship (this law had its roots in the conflict in Northern Ireland in that it allowed anyone born in one of the 6 counties to claim Irish citizenship). The term ‘Irish born child’ (IBC) usually refers to a child born in Ireland whose parents are not Irish or EEA citizens and who was born before January 2005. Following the Citizenship Referendum in 2004, legislation was passed so that it was no longer possible for persons born in Ireland to automatically obtain Irish citizenship. Parents of Irish-born children are entitled to stay in the State until their child reaches the age of 18.
Why do we sometimes hear terms such as a ‘illegal’ and why is it wrong?
Migrants who do not have a valid work permit or visa in Ireland are sometimes described as ‘illegal’. There are several reasons why someone could find themselves in such a situation, for example people who have been trafficked or a worker whose employer did not renew their work permit or a student who has completed their studies and stayed on. The accurate term to describe someone with irregular migration status is ‘undocumented’. For instance, there are estimates that approximately 25,000 – 30,000 undocumented Irish workers reside in the USA. There is currently no route in Ireland to regularise one’s migration status once someone becomes undocumented. Undocumented people in Ireland receive no social welfare so they are working, often in precarious employment situations or being taken advantage of.
Asylum seekers cannot be illegal as everyone has a recognised human right to seek asylum. Asylum seekers have a right to be in Ireland while their case is being decided.
Where can I learn more about working with young asylum seekers, migrants and refugees?
NYCI’s Equality and Intercultural Programme can support you in your work through training and resources, if you have any queries please email Anne email@example.com.
Access All Areas: A Diversity Toolkit for the Youth Work Sector is a practical resource that can help you to assess how you work with young people with an equality focus. Furthermore, we have developed a map and information leaflets to support young asylum seekers and refugees to take part in youth groups and youth work activities in their area, as well as for youth workers to support engagement.
Some Useful Links:
UNHCR – Guide to the International Protection Procedure in 20 languages
UNHCR Ireland – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
Asylum seekers and refugees (citizensinformation.ie)