Ireland has introduced a new asylum and protection system, including a single protection procedure, under the International Protection Act (2015). The new system came into effect on 31st December 2016. It replaces the old system (amended Refugee Act 1996), under which applications for refugee status, subsidiary protection and leave to remain were made and considered separately. It is hoped that the new system will eventually be more efficient and will help reduce the length of time applicants spend living in Direct Provision awaiting decisions on their individual cases. The introduction of the single protection procedure will have an impact on all new asylum and family reunification applicants, as well as current applicants who applied for international protection before 31st December 2016.
The International Protection Office (IPO) is replacing the Office for Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC). The IPO has published an information note in multiple languages, outlining the transitional arrangements for current applicants who applied before 31st December 2016.
- IPO Information note (external link)
Key Changes for Asylum Applicants
All new applicants will now make applications for Refugee Status, Subsidiary Protection and Permission to Remain under a single procedure (this means they will be processed at the same time). Information for all three applications must be recorded at the very beginning of the process.
Current applicants – “Transitional arrangements”
All current applications (made before 31st December 2016) will continue under the new single procedure. All current applicants will receive a letter from the International Protection Office (IPO) with information on their specific case. You will also receive a questionnaire. Reportedly, not all letters have been sent out – you may need to allow more time (21-02-2017).
When you receive a letter from the IPO, please contact your solicitor to make an appointment.
Download: IP Act Key Changes Asylum
Case Categories – What stage is your case at?
The letter you receive will tell you your case Category (at which stage your case is at) and will outline the next steps for you, regarding your individual case. The ‘transitional arrangements’ for current applications (made before end of 2016) outlines four categories of cases. Note: if your case belongs to Category 4, you will not receive a letter or questionnaire from the IPO. For more information on the different case categories, see our Transitional Arrangements case Categories chart. For full details of each category, visit www.ipo.gov.ie
Download:: IP Act Transitional Case Categories
Have you received a questionnaire from the International Protection Office?
If you are a current applicant in the asylum and protection process (applied before 31st December 2016), you may have received a questionnaire and a letter from the International Protection Office. It is important that you speak to your solicitor/ legal representative before submitting the questionnaire to the International Protection Office (IPO). If you need more time to meet with your solicitor/ legal representative, you can get an extension (more time) from the International Protection Office by writing to them, stating that you require more time.
This is what the IPO said about the 20 day deadline:
“For the avoidance of doubt, applicants and their legal advisors should note that this return date is purely an administrative deadline to commence the processing of single procedure applications as soon as possible. Flexibility is being provided by the International Protection Office if extra time is required for completion of the Questionnaire and for the receipt of legal advice if required.”
Read full note here: IPO website
If you need help writing to the IPO requesting an extension, please come to our office during opening hours for assistance. You can also find a sample template letter on Nasc’s website here: Template letter
Full information note from the IPO available to view below (multiple languages available at www.ipo.gov.ie):
The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) has a useful information note on the International Protection Act and answers some frequently asked questions: IRC Information Note
- To speak with a case-worker/ legal officer at Doras Luimní, please call in to our office on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday mornings to arrange an appointment.
- Detailed information is available on the IPO website here: http://www.ipo.gov.ie/