Immigrant Council of Ireland calls on Department of Justice to prioritise family reunification applications from Afghan nationals

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In response to the situation currently unfolding in Afghanistan, the Immigrant Council of Ireland is calling for formal and swift action from the Department of Justice, particularly in relation to outstanding applications from Afghan nationals.

Commenting today (16.08.21), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said “We at the Immigrant Council are greatly alarmed at the events unfolding in Afghanistan and the looming humanitarian catastrophe, as a result of innocent people fleeing violence and tyranny. For the Afghan communities in Ireland this is a particularly difficult time, losing communication with loved ones back home and fearing for their safety.

“In the last two days our services have been inundated by frantic calls and emails from Afghan clients whose applications for family reunification have been ongoing for several months, with little to no updates from the Department of Justice. The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan is understandably having a significant negative impact on the emotional and mental health of Afghan migrants based in Ireland, who are desperately trying to relocate their loved ones here for safety.

“The Immigrant Council is calling on the Department of Justice to prioritise family reunification applications from Afghan nationals. All the internal resources that are required need to be urgently diverted to swiftly process any outstanding applications. It is our view that there should be a major emphasis on expediting applications in the coming days, with the necessary processes such as DNA testing to verify family relationships being done in situ here in Ireland.

“We are also of the position that the Department should dedicate specific processing and external communication resources to supporting the Afghan community in Ireland who are in the process of seeking reunification or are now enquiring about the process, due to what has happened there. We feel a public statement from the Department on this matter would also be welcome and well received by those impacted.

“In recent days we have also become aware of other issues arising in relation to the identity documents of visa applicants. We are calling on the Department to return identification documents, like passports, to applicants based in Afghanistan, so that they can comply with the rapidly-changing security requirements being imposed by the Taliban that require people—women in particular—to carry identity documents with them at all times.

“The situation in Afghanistan is an extraordinary one, necessitating equally extraordinary measures by State bodies capable of intervening to ease the humanitarian disaster in the making. Now is the time for us to act. For the sake of innocent lives, and the respect of the international community the Irish Government must not delay its response.”

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