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

Stage 1: The Selection Process

Each year discussions are held usually in Geneva between resettlement states, the UNHCR, the EU and international NGOs working in the area of refugee protection to determine resettlement priorities for the coming period.

The decision on the country of origin/country of refuge of the refugees to be admitted to Ireland is taken by the Minister for Justice and Equality in consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UNHCR and European Institutions. In recent years, priority has been given to the resettlement of refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries in the region.

Cases are mainly selected following face-to-face interviews (a selection mission) in the country of refuge. For example, there was a selection mission to Jordan in 2014, two selection missions to Lebanon in 2015, two selection missions to Lebanon in January and October 2016 and a selection mission to Lebanon in March/April 2017. In exceptional circumstances, where it is not safe to carry out a selection mission or where the case is urgent in nature, selection may be based on an examination of papers (dossier) submitted by UNHCR.

Applications for resettlement are examined by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, and then referred to An Garda Síochána for security checking and to other Government Departments, as appropriate. Medical cases are referred to the HSE.

In consultation with the HSE, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) conducts pre-departure medical screening and fitness to travel checks.

    Stage 2: The Reception Programme

    Accommodation is provided for programme refugees in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROCs) post arrival. At present ( 1June 2017) , there are two EROCs in use for the resettlement programme, one in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, and the other in Clonea Strand, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

    It is expected that refugees will remain in residential centres for 8-12 weeks post arrival. This gives them time to rest and adjust to their new environment and to learn about Irish life and culture. It is also a time of recovery. While in the centre, resettled refugees receive information on
      • their statutory entitlements
      • and on their responsibilities.
    The programme refugees are linked to local service providers and have the time to visit their GP to have urgent health matters addressed.

    Also during this period in the EROC, an orientation and language training programme is provided for adults, from 18 years upwards, for a period of 8-10 weeks to prepare them for independent living in the community.

    Children under the age of 18 participate in an induction programme to prepare them for entry into mainstream education. They may be placed in early years educational programmes if appropriate and available, or childcare is provided to facilitate the adults' participation in the orientation and language programme.

    Stage 3: Resettlement and Integration

    Approximately 9 months before the arrival of a new group for resettlement, the resettlement team of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) identifies and begins the process of preparing receiving communities.

    The OPMI resettlement team works at a local level through the Local Authorities who have a role in community development and social inclusion.

    An Inter-Agency Working Group is set up, chaired by the Local Authority, where representatives of the mainstream service providers at a local level come together to plan for and ensure that required services are available at a local level. NGOs and Local Community Development Companies support the work of the Interagency Working Group post arrival to promote and facilitate local integration.

    Following resettlement in the community, a full language and training programme is put in place by the Education and Training Board (ETB) for up to 20 hours per week for a period of one year. Childcare is provided to ensure full participation by both parents in the training programme.

    Ireland has a mainstream model of service provision within existing resources for resettled refugees. It is recognised that additional supports may be needed for targeted initiatives that could not have been anticipated or that may be required due to special needs of the resettled refugees. Refugees are supported through the resettlement process as they adjust to their new lives in Ireland.

    The OPMI resettlement team continues to monitor and support the programme for up to 18 months post arrival of the refugees in Ireland.

    International Meetings and Trans-national Programmes

    Learning from Others Ireland has been involved in resettlement since 2000 and has participated in various EU funded transnational resettlement projects with Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. These were designed to pass on experience between the resettlement states.

    Sharing our experience In recent years, delegations from Belgium, Japan, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have visited Ireland to observe the Irish Resettlement model. Presentations were also made to a visiting Polish delegation about the programme in May 2015. In February 2016, Minister Humza Yousaf, Scottish Minister for External Affairs and International Development visited OPMI with officials from the Scottish Government to learn about the Irish resettlement programme.

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