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Services and entitlements for people seeking asylum


The Reception and Integration Agency, which is under the Department of Justice and Equality, is responsible for co-ordinating the services provided to asylum seekers in Ireland. This is done in partnership with a number of State agencies, voluntary and community groups and other non-governmental organisations.

On 30 June 2015, the Government published the Report of the Working Group on the Protection Process including Direct Provision and supports to asylum seekers. It includes over 170 recommendations, including improvements to the conditions in accommodation for asylum seekers, particularly for families and children.

Services and entitlements available to you


As a newly arrived asylum seeker, you are initially accommodated in a short-stay reception centre in the Dublin area for a period of assessment. You will then be assigned accommodation at a regional centre. Such an assignment will take your particular needs into account.

Personal welfare entitlements

Your accommodation is full board, which includes bed, breakfast, lunch, and evening meal. This known as direct provision.

Each adult will receive a personal allowance of €19.10 per week and €9.60 for each child.

You may be entitled to assistance towards clothing when you arrive and to other exceptional needs from time to time. The Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) will advise you on this.

You will not be entitled to Rent Supplement as your accommodation is paid for.

Medical services

The Local Health Office will provide for your medical needs. The Department's representative will provide you with a medical card application form. The medical card gives you and your family access to medical services free of charge. You can read more about medical services for asylum seekers here.


Primary and post-primary education: Information packs on primary and post-primary education are provided at the initial reception centre in Dublin to the parents of children of school-going age before they are allocated to their regional accommodation centre.

All children and young people, including young asylum seekers, are entitled to free primary and post primary education. All children are required to remain in school until they are 16 years of age. Most children start school at 4 years of age and continue through primary school until they are approximately 12 years old. Corporal punishment is prohibited in Irish schools.

On completing primary education, the students then transfer to post-primary or second-level education (more commonly called secondary education). They join the junior cycle of secondary education, which lasts 3 years. At the end of this cycle students present themselves for the Junior Certificate Examination. Students then continue into the senior cycle, which lasts two or three years and leads to students presenting for the Leaving Certificate Examination.

Children may have free access to mother tongue supports.

Further and higher education: In general, asylum seekers are not entitled to free third-level (university or college) education. Since 1 September 2015, school leavers who have been in the asylum protection system for 5 years and meet certain criteria can apply for student supports under the Pilot Student Support Scheme.

Adults may have free access to adult literacy and English language classes. Information on English classes can be obtained from your local Education and Training Board (ETB) or local support group.

Work and vocational training

In general, you are not entitled to work or attend vocational training. You may, however, become involved in voluntary community activities.

Interpretation and translation services

Interpretation and translation services will be provided where necessary.

Local support groups

Information on various local support groups, at or near your resettlement destination, will also be available on request from the Reception and Integration Agency.

Staff of the Agency will hold information meetings at your accommodation centre on a regular basis.


You will be expected to stay at the regional centre while your application for a declaration as a refugee is being processed.

You are not allowed to seek alternative accommodation in the private rented sector during this time.

If you are absent from your designated accommodation centre for more than 3 consecutive nights, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) will deem your bed space abandoned.

Continuous absenteeism (that is, for 3 or more nights) will be taken as an indication that you do not wish to receive any aid or assistance from the Agency.

House rules are posted in each accommodation centre. While you are a resident in the centre, you will be expected to abide by these rules. You can find the RIA revised house rules (pdf) including complaints procedures on the Agency's website.

It is the responsibility of parents to supervise and care for their children. To ensure the safety of the children and for the safety of others, it is not permissible to leave children unattended at the accommodation centres. Failure to care for and ensure the safety of your children may require the the involvement of the Child and Family Agency, which is obliged, under the Child Care Act 1991, as amended by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, to ensure the welfare and protection of children in its area.

Your application for refugee status will be processed while you are living at your allocated accommodation. The Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner will provide you with an information leaflet on the procedures involved in processing asylum claims.

Where to apply

Contact the Department of Social Protection's representative at your local health centre.

Reception and Integration Agency

P.O. Box 11487
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 418 3200
Fax:+353 1 418 3271

Page edited: 2 September 2015


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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.