436. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice the current status of a family reunification application for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [60071/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I share the Deputy’s concerns for the Afghan people and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The person referred to by the Deputy was granted family reunification in respect of two brothers and a grandmother in 2016. They subsequently applied for their mother to join them in 2020 and were advised by letter dated 28 July 2020 that this application was deemed ineligible under the terms of the International Protection Act 2015. They were advised of other application types available.
My officials have checked the applications on hand in my Department and are not aware of any current application having being received.
As the Deputy is aware, the Government has approved my Department's proposal for an additional initiative: the special Afghan Admission Programme, which will provide places for up to 500 Afghan family members to travel to Ireland. Each applicant will have an opportunity to nominate up to four family members who are currently residing in Afghanistan or who have fled to neighbouring territories and whom they consider would be especially at risk in terms of their freedom and safety. My Department intends to open the Programme for applications during mid-December and it may be open to the person concerned to make an application to that Programme, subject to meeting its criteria.
A key focus of the Programme will be on establishing the identity of those intending to come to Ireland. Therefore, in advance of the Programme’s launch date, applicants and beneficiaries should focus on ensuring they have as many identity documents as possible available to support their application.