It is hard to believe the humanitarian crisis which has unfolded in Afghanistan in the past number of days which has shocked the world. Sinnott Solicitors have represented many nationals of Afghanistan over the years in their applications for International Protection, Irish citizenship, applications for family reunification under the Refugee Act, the International Protection Act, the IHAP scheme and general family visa applications. We have been inundated with calls this week from desperate clients trying to bring their family members to safety in Ireland and the situation is truly heart breaking for all involved,

In response to the rapidly deteriorating crisis in Afghanistan,  the Irish government have announced  the following:

  1. Nationals of Afghanistan who are currently in Ireland and who are the subject of Deportation Orders, can apply to Repatriation Division of the Department of Justice to have them revoked and these requests will be prioritised.
  2. No deportation orders will be enforced again nationals of Afghanistan in Ireland.
  3. 150 humanitarian visas for Afghan nationals will be issued under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme in addition to 45 visas which have already been issued in recent days.
  4.  One million euro will be provided in humanitarian funding to support people in Afghanistan through the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Whilst the above commitments are undoubtedly welcomed, the Irish government can and must do far more than the above. We submit that the government must immediately expand the family reunification options for family members of nationals of Afghanistan currently residing in Ireland to allow them to bring family members here urgently, provide increased resettlement options for Afghan refugees,  participate in an EU wide distribution of said refugees, open a humanitarian visa programme – with the processing of any applications submitted under such schemes to be expedited as a matter of extreme urgency. The government must also commit  to expediting International Protection applications for nationals of Afghanistan currently pending in Ireland and ensure that International Protection is granted to them.

At present family members of nationals of Afghanistan residing in Ireland can only apply for family reunification  under strict and limited situations provided for under the International Protection Act 2013 and other discretionary visa arrangements and this is absolutely not acceptable. Sinnott Solicitors Dublin and Cork immigration teams have been in constant contact with the Department of Justice and visa offices in recent days seeking arrangements for the expeditious processing of visa applications for our clients in Afghanistan have received a number of positive visa approvals already this week for our clients in Afghanistan. We will continue to assist our clients in any way we can to bring their family members here safely.

If you wish to discuss urgent visa options for family or friends residing in Afghanistan, do not hesitate to contact our immigration department in Dublin or Cork today on or 014062862.