Responding to the crisis in Afghanistan
Over the past few weeks life has changed irrevocably for Afghans living in Afghanistan. As the Taliban take control over Afghanistan, women, activists, journalists as well as ordinary citizens are attempting to flee the country in unprecedented numbers. The images of Kabul airport as thousands of people wait for an opportunity to leave the country are devastating.
This has taken a huge toll on Afghans and Afghan-Irish families living in Ireland who are incredibly worried about the safety of their families left behind. We’re getting lots of phone calls from people who want to bring their families to safety in Ireland.
Here are three of the most common questions we’ve been answering:
Q: The Irish government announced that it would issue 200 visas to Afghans to come to Ireland. Can my family apply for one of these visas?
A: No, these are visas that have already been issued to aid workers, NGO workers and Afghans working with the EU. Everyone who has been allocated a visa under this list has already been informed. There is no way to apply for one of these visas.
Q: Is there a special scheme for Afghans living in Ireland to apply for a visa for their family members?
A: No, at the moment there is no special scheme. On Saturday 28th August the Irish Times reported that the Department is preparing to open a scheme for up to 500 family members to come to Ireland in the coming weeks. We have no further details at the moment but we will update here when we do. Nasc and other organisations throughout Ireland are calling on the government to introduce a special scheme (a Humanitarian Admission Programme) urgently. If you would like to support the call for this scheme, write to the Minister for Justice to let her know that this is important to you. We have a template letter here.
Q: I want to help, what can I do?
A: Right now, the most practical thing people can do to support Afghans living in Ireland is to write to call or write to their TD and let them know that you want Ireland to take the following three steps to support Afghans living in Ireland:
- Introduce a humanitarian admission programme for Afghan or Afghan-Irish citizens who wish to bring their families to Ireland;
- Expedite ‘D’ visa applications and family reunification applications already in queue for Afghan family members of Irish residents;
- Expedite international protection (asylum) cases for Afghan nationals in the international protection process.
We are also recruiting community groups who might be interested in forming a Community Sponsorship group to sponsor Afghan refugees to come live in Ireland. If you think you, your friends, your village or your town would be able to find a home for an Afghan family and provide supports the family after arrival, we would love to hear from you. You can read more about our Community Sponsorship programme here or you can contact our community sponsorship team at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.