On 28 September 2021 Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys and her colleagues updated the Cabinet on what steps Ireland will take to support Afghan nationals. Afghan nationals living in Ireland will be able to apply to have four family members who met the criteria and are living in Afghanistan or have fled to other countries to join them in Ireland. Family members will be granted permission to reside and work in Ireland. They will not require a separate work permit. The programme is currently being developed and the application will be opened in December. An appeals process will also be put in place.
In the meantime, the Department of Foreign Affairs is providing assistance to Irish citizens and Irish residents in Afghanistan. Minister Coveney has said that this new programme“will create a tailored family reunion programme and enable Ireland to better respond to the situation in Afghanistan. This is an important development, I know there are many in Ireland today with deep concerns for family members who remain in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, my Department continues to liaise with diplomatic partners, including the EU, to explore options for the return of Irish citizens, their direct dependents and Irish residents from Afghanistan.”
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman further stated that programme refugee under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme “has provided programme refugee status to 400 people from Afghanistan…We are working to assist the new arrivals in towns and cities across Ireland, and have been heartened by offers of support from the Irish public. Through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and the Afghan Admission Programme, we are extending the compassion and solidarity that Ireland is known for, to people who are in immediate need.”
The department of Justice is currently processing 99 joint family/preclearance applications from Afghan nationals. These applications are being dealt with speedily.