On the 28th of September 2021 the Irish Government announced the introduction of the Irish Afghanistan Admission Programme. The purpose of the programme is to allow an additional 500 nationals of Afghanistan to join their family members in the Republic of Ireland and reside here on a full time basis.
Who can apply for the scheme and what residence permission will be granted
Nationals of Afghanistan, who were residing in the Irish State on or before the 1st of September 2021 will be able to apply for up to four close family members who meet certain eligibility criteria to join them in Ireland. Family members who are residing in Afghanistan or who have fled to certain neighbouring countries will be eligible to apply.
Successful applicants will be granted a residence permission to reside in the Irish State allowing them immediate access to the labour market without the requirement to apply for an employment permit.
An appeals process will be developed for unsuccessful applicants.
When will the scheme open and how can applications be submitted
The scheme is due to open for applications in December 2021 however no information is available regarding the application process or specific eligibility criteria.
Sinnott Solicitors analysis of the Afghan Admission Programme
Whilst the Afghanistan Admission Programme is greatly welcomed, the immigration team at Sinnott Solicitors believe that 500 places is far from sufficient and submit that the State should significantly increase the proposed number of places. We suggest that successful applicants should be granted permission to reside in the State on Stamp 4 conditions which will allow them to work in any employment, including as self-employed.
The Department of Justice press release which is available to read here states that the scheme will be open to family members of current or former Afghan nationals currently resident in the State, so this suggests that Irish citizens who were formerly Afghanistan nationals will be able to apply however this needs to be clarified.
Sinnott Solicitors immigration departments in our Dublin and Cork offices are inundated with queries from desperate Afghan and Irish citizens seeking to bring family members to Ireland on a daily basis. In light of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, we submit that the scheme should be opened much earlier than December and that applications when submitted, should be processed within a number of weeks as a matter of extreme urgency.
Sinnott Solicitors will monitor the situation and provide further updates as soon as additional information is announced. In the meantime we will continue to support and submit applications for family reunification on behalf of our clients as provided for under the International Protection Act 2013 and various other visa schemes.
Here is our client Mohammad Asif Ahmadzai who Sinnott Solicitors recently assisted with his application for family reunification to allow his wife and children to join him in Ireland from Afghanistan. Fortunately the family were able to travel to Ireland prior to the Taliban takeover. There are many families like the Ahmadzai family seeking to come to Ireland on an urgent basis and we therefore submit that it is the obligation of the Irish government to expedite and expand the terms of the Afghan Admission Programme without delay.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 014062862.