Lack of clarity around rights of migrants in Ireland

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The rights of people granted permission to stay in Ireland under the International Protection Act are not set out in legislation and there is a lack of clarity around their entitlements, research suggested.

While Ireland has increased its options to protect vulnerable migrants in recent years, disparities in supports remain.

An increased numbers of migrants in need of protection have been offered residence in Ireland under national law and new resettlement schemes.

Research carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that there are a number of disparities in supports and entitlements among different groups of status-holders.

The number of people resettled to Ireland, including under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, grew from 20 in 2010 to 349 in 2018.

The report highlights that certain disparities have arisen in integration supports and in particular access to education among different groups.

The largest number resettled to Ireland in this period were nationals of Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

Granted programme refugee status under Irish law, such people have rights similar to those of Irish citizens and people granted international protection.

Families resettled to Ireland under Community Sponsorship Ireland (CSI) are among those granted programme refugee status.

Launched as a national programme last year, it involves community organisations providing a range of integration supports to a refugee family.

Eight Syrian families have been resettled under community sponsorship to date.

The International Protection Act allows people to stay after they have received a negative decision on an application for international protection but have other grounds, including humanitarian considerations, to remain in Ireland.

A total of 72 people were granted permission to remain under this Act in 2017, with a further 238 granted this status in 2018.

The top countries of origin were Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Albania, Malawi and Pakistan.

Between 2010 and 2018, 4,676 people who had submitted an application for international protection were granted leave to remain.

The top countries of origin were Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

The research found that, unlike people who come through the international protection system and the other groups, only programme refugees resettled to Ireland receive targeted orientation and integration supports.

The rights of people under the International Protection Act are not set out in legislation and there is less clarity regarding their entitlements, such as access to employment and education.

Unlike programme refugees and people granted international protection, permission to remain holders are not eligible for State funding for third-level education, which is highlighted by NGOs as a barrier to accessing third-level education not faced by other protection status-holders.

Rights for people granted leave to remain are also not provided for in legislation and are less clear than for other status-holders.

Sarah Groarke, co-author of the report, said: “The recent introduction of additional admission programmes demonstrates how national legal statuses and ad hoc schemes can be used flexibly, in a way that complements Ireland’s international protection obligations and traditional resettlement pathways.

“However, the report highlights that certain disparities have arisen in integration supports and in particular access to education among different groups.”



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