For starters, Irish citizens don’t have automatic entitlements to family reunification. For them to be joined by dependent family members, they will have to convince the department of justice about the identity of the persons applied for, their relationship, and also their ability to support that person, financially, without burdening the state. All the applications are decided upon by the Justice Minister, at his sole discretion. If the family member is in another country, then he or she will have to apply for a ‘D’ type visa in the nearest Embassy, and if in the country, they can file with INIS.
Other categories of legal residents that may be joined by their family members with immediate effect in Ireland include immigrant investors, researchers as well as critical skill work permit holders. But as for holders of general work permit, or individuals with Humanitarian Leave to Remain have to wait for at least one year before they are eligible to apply for family reunification.
Moreover, for persons who have already received the declaration of refugee statuses, they may also apply to the Minister of Justice and Equality to be granted permission to bring members of their family to live with them in Ireland. Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996 provides recognised refugees with special rights to family reunification. The Act allows the following family members to join the recognised refugees in the state:
- His/her spouse (provided they were still married on the date of application for asylum)
- Children under the age of 18 years
- The parents of a refugee who was below 18 on the application for refugee status.
Also, as section 18(4) provides, other dependants family members including any grandparent, parent, siblings, or grandchildren, all of whom are dependent on the refugee or are suffering from physical or a mental disability and needs the refugee to survive may be allowed to join them in Ireland.