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Criteria for the Grant and Refusal of Asylum

A refugee in Irish law is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country......" (section 2 of the Refugee Act 1996, mirroring Article 1 of the 1951 Geneva Convention). The Refugee Act 1996 explicitly states that 'social group' can include membership of a trade union or a group of people whose defining characteristic is their belonging to the female or male sex or having a particular sexual orientation.

Refugee status is granted if an applicant meets the requirements set out in the above definition. If granted, this status provides protection against return to the person's country of origin or residence, and includes the right to family reunification of immediate family members. A recognised refugee is entitled to work or operate a business and to access medical, social welfare and education services on the same basis as Irish citizens. They are also provided with a residence permit by the Immigration authorities and may apply for a 1951 Convention Travel Document.



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