The Irish Resettlement Process
The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration co-ordinates the Irish Resettlement Programme which has three stages:
Stage 1: The Selection Process
Stage 2: The Reception Process
Stage 3: Resettlement and Integration
Stage1: The Selection ProcessThe decision on who Ireland will accept for resettlement i.e. the country of origin/country of refuge is taken by the Minister for Justice and Equality in consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the UNHCR. The decision is informed by discussions held between resettlement countries worldwide at their biannual Working Group on Resettlement (WGR) meetings and by information provided by the UNHCR during the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATCR) which are held in Geneva. At this meeting, the UNHCR presents their resettlement priorities and capacity for the coming year.
Applications for resettlement are submitted by the UNHCR and are examined by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration. If considered necessary, e.g. cases with medical or special needs, other Government Departments, the HSE and the Garda National Immigration Bureau are consulted.
Cases are selected following face to face interviews (selection mission) in the country of refuge or on the basis of a paper based application (dossier). Since 2005, Ireland has carried out selection missions to Jordan (Iranian Kurds), Thailand (Burmese Karen), Uganda (Sudanese), Bangladesh (Burmese Rohingya) and Tanzania (D. R. Congolese).
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) conducts pre-departure medical screening of the selected refugees on behalf of the Irish Government. Ireland does not exclude applications based on health issues unless the specific health issue cannot be dealt with by the national health service or it poses a threat to public health.
Persons admitted under the Resettlement Programme are admitted for permanent resettlement rather than for temporary protection. New arrivals are supported in the early stages to ensure that they are aware of, and in receipt of, their statutory entitlements which are set down in section 3 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended). They undergo medical screening, are linked to various services and receive general training to prepare them for independent living. Many refugees admitted under the programme have been living in dependent situations in refugee camps for up to 25 years and many have been victims of violence. Some have no experience of modern western society.
Stage 2: The Reception Programme
Children under the age of 18 participate in an induction programme to prepare them for entry into mainstream education.
Refugees admitted as individual cases may be accommodated temporarily by the Reception and Integration Agency in their portfolio of accommodation before being housed directly into the community.
Stage 3: Resettlement and IntegrationApproximately 9 months before the arrival of a new group for resettlement, the resettlement team of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration begins the process of preparing receiving communities. Information about rights and entitlements, issues that may arise and funding for special targeted initiatives is provided to ensure that the immediate needs of the resettled refugees are met.
Ireland has a mainstream model of integration in which service providers directly meet the needs of the new arrivals. The Resettlement team works at a local level through the City/County Development Boards who have a coordinating role in relation to social inclusion.
The resettlement team works closely with the local service providers in the resettlement towns where the new arrivals will be resettled. An implementing partner is identified who assists at a local level to facilitate access to services, promote participation by the new arrivals in local activities and to encourage local organisations to proactively welcome the new arrivals.
Following resettlement in the community, a full language and training programme is put in place for 20 hours per week for a period of more than one year. The resettlement team of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration continues to monitor and support the programme for up to 18 months post arrival of the refugees in Ireland.
International Meetings and Trans-national ProgrammesAs part of a process of improving its resettlement programme, Ireland participates in trans-national programmes related to the reception and resettlement of refugees e.g. the MORE, and more recently, the MOST project, which produced two Irish reports - Predeparture and Final. These trans-national EU partnership projects were funded by the Community Actions strand of the European Refugee Fund.
In 2008, Ireland and the UK received EU funding through the Community Actions strand of the European Refugee Fund (ERF) to carry out a Trans-national resettlement programme with Belgium, Bulgaria and Slovenia as observer members. Under this initiative, both the UK and Ireland will carry out a joint selection mission to select refugees for resettlement in their respective countries. Links will be developed between the two receiving communities and the resettled refugees. Costs will be shared wherever possible and the various approaches will be evaluated with a view to developing good practice in resettlement.
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