BKC Solicitors | Asylum & Refugee Law
Asylum and Refugee Status
To achieve refugee status one must show that they were unable to get protection in their own country or safely relocate internally and that they had a well-founded fear of persecution. BKC Solicitors specialise in Asylum Applications. This right to asylum for refugees comes from the 1951 Geneva Convention and all signatories to it recognise this as a basis human right. In Ireland procedural details of these rights are set out in the 1996 Refugee Act.
How To Apply for Asylum in Ireland
In Ireland, applications for refugee status are made to the ORAC (Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner).
Even if an application for refugee status was made when arriving in Ireland (e.g. at the airport or getting off the ferry), the applicant is still required to attend the ORAC. Here they must complete the initial asylum application process. If they do not do so or do not provide an address to the Commissioner within 5 working days of making an application, ORAC will consider the application as withdrawn.
During the application process, ORAC will require:
- The applicant’s address in Ireland.
- All available documents relating to travel and identity, such as tickets, passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates and any other documents that will help verify the applicant’s claims.
- A formal interview to gather information about the applicant and the applicant’s reasons for claiming asylum. This interview is to establish the grounds on which the application for refugee status is based.
- The completion of a questionnaire which will be used when assessing the application. This questionnaire must be returned to ORAC by the date specified by the ORAC.
- Fingerprinting and photographing to help verify identity. This information is exchanged with other EU countries under the Eurodac (A EU refugee fingerprint database) system.
If an applicant is successful then they will receive a Temporary Residence Certificate from the ORAC. While the application process is ongoing the applicant will be transported to an accommodation centre where they will be provided with food and board. The applicant must remain here at all times until ORAC give a recommendation. The recommendation will either be positive or negative. A negative recommendation means that the applicant has failed in their submission for refugee status and will eventually be deported back to their country of origin.
Any applicant receiving a negative decision from the ORAC have the right to appeal the decision to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT). Normally, they have 10-15 days in which to appeal to the RAT. The “Notice of Appeal” form, which accompanies the RAT decision, must be filled out and submitted to the RAT by the time specified by the ORAC decision. All supporting documents should also be submitted by this time. If the applicant wishes to have an oral hearing as part of the appeal process, they must specify this also. This can be done by the applicant or the applicant’s solicitor.