Asylum in Ireland
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Asylum Seekers are people who are seeking to be recognised as a Refugee.
An asylum seeker has a right in Irish law to seek refuge in Ireland under the terms of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Asylum seekers are legally resident in the State while they are in the asylum process. Currently, asylum seekers cannot:
(a) leave or attempt to leave the State without the consent of the Minister, or
(b) seek or enter employment or carry on any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of his or her application for a declaration.
The State provides accommodation and board to asylum seekers through the direct provision system. For more information about direct provision, click here.
The definition of a refugee under Irish law, contained in section 2 of the Refugee Act, 1996, is taken directly from the Geneva Convention:
[A] refugee means a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it…
Once recognised as a refugee, they have many of the same rights and duties as Irish Citizens. See the Citizens Information Centre’s website for more information.
Nasc does not provide legal support for making an asylum application but we strongly recommend you seek advice before making an asylum application. The Irish Refugee Council may be able to provide support and information. You can also contact the Refugee Legal Service to obtain free legal aid.
What is Subsidiary Protection?
Those who do not fall under the legal definition of a Refugee may apply for other types of protection. Subsidiary Protection offers protection if it can be shown you are at risk of suffering serious harm in your country of origin. Serious harm includes: if you are at risk of the death penalty or execution; torture or inhumane and degrading treatment; a serious and individual threat to a person’s life by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of conflict. The Refugee Legal Service or the Irish Refugee Council can help you prepare an application. They are currently long delays in processing Subsidiary Protection applications. See here for more information.
How to apply.
Currently, you may make an application for leave to remain on humanitarian grounds at the same time as an application for subsidiary protection. However, the Department of Justice will consider the subsidiary protection application first. If your application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the Minister will consider your leave to remain application. If your leave to remain application is successful, you will be granted the right to reside temporarily in Ireland. However unlike subsidiary protection, you will not have the right to apply for family reunification.
Nasc’s legal service does not currently provide legal support for persons who wish to make a Subsidiary Protection or Leave to Remain applications. We strongly recommend that you contact a solicitor before making an application. See here for more information.
The State provides accommodation and board to asylum seekers through the direct provision system. The direct provision system is administered by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA). RIA also coordinates the provision of essential services (medical and education for minors) to asylum seekers. Asylum seekers receive a weekly payment of €19.10 to meet any needs not provided for by RIA. Minor asylum seekers receive a weekly payment of €9.60.
If an asylum seeker chooses to live outside the direct provision system they become ineligible for both the €19.10 weekly payment and the medical card.
See here for more information on the Direct Provision system.
Nasc provides support for clients seeking to apply for transfers to other accommodation centres or if you would like to make a complaint about your living conditions. Please call into our Legal Service to speak to one of our legal team.
The information presented here is provided in good faith and every effort is made to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. All content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. Nasc does not accept liability for the use or misuse of the information presented here. Thank you for your co-operation.
Nasc is a non-profit organisation. We receive no government funding, demand no payment from our clients, and rely on donations to enable us to provide our service. If you have found the information on this page useful, please consider making a donation – every euro received goes towards helping us to protect human rights, promote integration and campaign for change.