111 Syrians admitted under sponsorship programme

Tuesday 9 December 2014.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, TD, has announced that a total of 111 vulnerable people from Syria and the surrounding region have been granted admission to reside in Ireland following applications to her Department from relatives already resident here. A total of 308 applications were received under the Syrian Humanitarian Admissions Programme which was introduced by then Minister Alan Shatter in March last.

Those admitted under the programme will be entitled to work, establish a business, or invest in the State. A key condition is that these persons should not become a burden on the State. Other avenues for admission to Ireland, such as access to asylum procedures, family reunification, and the opportunity to apply for an extension of leave to remain for persons legally resident in Ireland, continue to remain open to Syrian nationals. The Government has already accepted 90 Syrian refugees this year under the UNHCR resettlement programme

Commenting ahead of a pledging conference on resettlement and other forms of admission for Syrian Refugees to be held by UNHCR in Geneva today, 9th December 2014, Minister Fitzgerald said: “The individual family circumstances of each family were considered, in a humane and reasonable way, relying on UNHCR guidelines in granting the applications. The programme is in addition to other avenues whereby Syrian nationals might lawfully enter the State, such as family reunification for the family members of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection, and UNHCR’s resettlement programme.

"Ireland is committed to continuing with its resettlement programme. We have pledged an additional 220 resettlement places for the 2015/2016 period (100 in 2015 and 120 in 2016). The majority of these resettlement places will be available for the resettlement of refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict currently resident in Jordan and Lebanon.".

Ireland will continue to provide support to those directly involved in humanitarian work in Syria and the wider region itself through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s humanitarian aid programme, building on the €28m already allocated to that work in recent years. To date, funds have been provided to a range of established UN partners, NGO partners and the Red Cross/Red Crescent.

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Notes for Editors

The Syrian Humanitarian Admissions Programme (SHAP) offered temporary Irish residence to vulnerable persons who are present in Syria, or who have fled from Syria to surrounding countries since the outbreak of the civil war, who have close family members residing in the State. It allowed naturalised Irish citizens of Syrian birth and Syrian nationals already lawfully resident in the State, to make an application for vulnerable close family members to join them in Ireland on a temporary basis for up to two years. These are persons who are considered by the family member present in Ireland (“sponsor”) to be most at risk. A sponsor may be a single person or the head of a family unit.

 

A quota of two family members per sponsor was established however sponsors could submit applications for up to four of their most vulnerable family members, two of whom should be prioritised by the sponsor for admission in the first instance. The Programme came into operation on 14th March 2014 and the final date for the submission of applications under the Programme was 30th April 2014.

 

Priority was given to applications in respect of persons deemed to be the most vulnerable (and who do not present any evident concerns relating to community safety or State security), namely:

- elderly parents;

- children;

- unaccompanied mothers and their children;

- single women and girls at risk;

- disabled persons.

 

However, this did not exclude any other family member who has been identified by the sponsor as being at serious risk.