The Government has published a White Paper setting out a plan to end the direct provision system for asylum-seekers, with a target of closing all existing centres by the end of 2024.
An advisory group chaired by former European Commission Secretary General Dr Catherine Day recommended last year that the current system be replaced, saying it was “not fit for purpose”.
Launching the White Paper, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman (pictured), said a new International Protection Support Service would be set up and run on a not-for-profit basis.
Under the new system, the plan says, people who are applying for protection will be helped to integrate into Ireland from day one, with health, housing, education, and employment supports.
The Government says the new system will be grounded in “the principles of human rights, respect for diversity and respect for privacy and family”.
When people arrive in Ireland seeking international protection, they will stay in one of a number of new reception and integration centres for no more than four months. These new centres will be run by not-for-profit organisations.
In this period, people will receive integration supports such as English language lessons and employment advice to help them adjust to living in Ireland.
Privacy and independence
After their first four months in Ireland, people whose claims are still being processed will move to accommodation in the community, for which they will pay a means-tested rent.
“The accommodation will be own-door for families, and provide the privacy and independence so many were not afforded over the past two decades,” said Minister O’Gorman.
Applicants for asylum will be entitled to seek paid work after six months.