Tuesday, September 20, 2011



We  received a number of positive decisions in pending applications for Family Reunification last week. One case is particularly a cause for celebration in our office, because it is a case that has until now caused us much concern.

Our young client had come to Ireland as an unaccompanied minor of seventeen years of age in 2005. Prior to his travels to this State, he had become separated from his family following a rebel attack on his village during which his parents had been killed. He was granted refugee status within less than three months. When he regained contact with his siblings, he submitted an application for family reunification in September 2006. He was of eighteen years of age at the time of the application was submitted.

In September 2007, it was indicated to our client that the family reunification process application would take a further 24 months to process. He received no further correspondences until notified in January 2009 that the application had been refused on the basis that sufficient documentation had not been submitted in support of the application. The refusal letter indicated that there was no appeal avenue open to our client.

Through advices from the Vincentian Refugee Centre, our client chose to seek legal advice from this firm in recent months. He instructed us that he wished to re open the Family Reunification application for his two remaining siblings.

As a first step, we applied for a copy of his file pursuant to the Freedom of Information legislation. When we became aware of the details of our clients first application, we realised that the breaches of fair procedures were of an extraordinary nature. For example, all documentation requested by the Department had been submitted by our client. The full processing time of the application was two years and four months, and it appeared that there was no activity what so ever on the file for a period of one year and four months, between September 2007 and January 2009 when the application was refused.

We believe that our client’s status as a young and unaccompanied applicant for family reunification triggered an onus on the Minister to make every effort to assist him in the application process and determine the application as expeditiously as possible.  We have no doubt that the Minister of Justice failed in his obligations to our client, the consequences of which have been immense for him. In particular, the unexplainable and lengthy delays in the processing of the application, coupled with an ungrounded and unfair negative decision, are cause for great concern. The fact that our client had submitted  the family reunification application  as a separated and unaccompanied young person of 18 years old make these failures in fair procedures all the more concerning.

We were very clear in our approach with the Department. We demanded the case be immediately reopened, fully considered and a new determination issued as soon as all relevant documentation was submitted. The Department agreed to our requests, and last week, approved the application for family reunification in respect of our clients siblings.  He is now in the process of applying for visas for them to join him in the State. He is absolutly delighted, and we wish him and his siblings the best of luck in their new future together in Ireland.

Brophy Solicitors

No comments:

Post a Comment