Rights conferred on people granted refugee or subsidiary protection status or permission to remain
Under the International Protection Act 2015, which came into effect on 31 December 2016, there are 2 types of international protection – refugee status and subsidiary protection. If the Minister for Justice and Equality gives you a refugee or subsidiary protection declaration or permission to remain in Ireland, you are entitled to certain rights. The rights for people with refugee status or subsidiary protection are different from those for people granted permission to remain in the State – see below.
If you have previously been granted refugee status under the Refugee Act 1996, as amended or subsidiary protection under the European Union (Subsidiary Protection) Regulations 2013, your rights are now set out in the International Protection Act 2015, as described below.
The Department of Justice and Equality has published a guide to living independently (pdf) for people who have been granted refugee or subsidiary protection status or permission to remain.
International Protection Act 2015
Under Section 53 of the International Protection Act 2015, people granted international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) have:
- The right to seek and enter employment in the State
- The right to carry on any business, trade or profession in the State
- The right to access education and training in the like manner and to the like extent in all respects as an Irish citizen
- The right to receive the same medical care and services and the same social welfare benefits, including housing, as an Irish citizen
- The right to reside in the State for at least 3 years. This is renewable unless there are compelling reasons of national security or public order (ordre public) not to do so.
- The same rights of travel in, or to or from the State as those to which Irish citizens are entitled (note: this is on the basis that the Minister for Justice and Equality issues a travel document)
- The right to apply to the Minister for Justice and Equality for permission for a member of their family to enter and reside in the State
Programme refugees will, for the period they are entitled to remain in the State, have the same entitlement to the rights and privileges given to Convention refugees. You can read more about these different terms for refugees in our document, Coming to Ireland as an asylum seeker or refugee.
Permission to remain
While it is not set out in legislation, people given permission to remain in the State are normally conferred with many of the same rights and privileges as those conferred on Convention refugees. They do not have the right to family reunification but anyone who is entitled to reside and remain in the State may apply to the Minister for Justice and Equality to permit family members or to join them. The Minister can grant or refuse permission on a discretionary basis.