Resettlement of Refugees and Private Sponsorship in Ireland

December 13, 2016 | ESRI Research Series

Authors: Samantha Arnold , Emma Quinn

This study investigates resettlement and private sponsorship programmes operational in Ireland between 2011 and 2016. The study focuses on the ‘traditional’ Irish Refugee Resettlement Programme and the recent once-off Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme (SHAP), a private sponsorship scheme. A comprehensive overview of both programmes including some of the associated challenges and successes is provided in the study.

In the global context of record high populations of refugees and displaced persons, the number of refugees resettled to Ireland and to other EU Member States is very low. The overall EU response, as well as the global response to the migrant and refugee crisis has been heavily criticised by NGOs.

From a domestic policy perspective it is notable that Ireland voluntarily pledged more places than recommended under the EU Resettlement Programme. Ireland’s decision to participate in the EU-wide response to the refugee crisis has resulted in an increase in the number of resettled persons foreseen to arrive in Ireland. Accordingly the study is undertaken at a time of expansion for the Irish Refugee Resettlement Programme.

The report indicates that Ireland has shown commitment to a European response to the present crisis.  As of November 2016, Ireland had resettled 98 per cent of the 520 refugees pledged under the EU programme, ahead of schedule. The majority of those resettled have been of Syrian origin.

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