The report draws on the experience of people living in the system and proposes several key reforms.
Length of time
Proposed measures mainly target people in the system 5 years or more, for example:
- All persons awaiting a decision should be granted protection status or leave to remain (subject to certain conditions) as soon as possible and within a maximum of six months.
- Persons who have a deportation order and who have been in the system for five years or more the solution proposed should have their deportation order revoked (subject to certain conditions). This is proposed as an exceptional measure.
Quality of the determination procedures
The legal framework is to be improved, including the adequate reflection of the best interests of the child principle, in the forthcoming International Protection Bill.
Good practices in the determining bodies including in the areas of training and recruitment are identified and the Working Group urges their continuation.
Suggested Improvements to Living Conditions in Direct Provision Accommodation Centres
Length of stay is a key concern, which exacerbates other concerns including uncertainty, lack of personal autonomy and privacy and the negative impact on children.
- Residents are to have access to increased physical space and appropriately furnished rooms;
- Access to cooking facilities should be provided for families and their own private living space in so far as practicable.
Operational and management issues
Recommendations are made to enhance confidence in RIA’s internal complaints procedure.
The extension of the remit of the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children is recommended to include complaints relating to services provided to residents and transfer decisions.
The transparency of decisions on involuntary transfers is to be enhanced.
Suggested Improvements to Supports for Persons in the System
The weekly allowance payable to those in Direct Provision is to be increased from €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child to €38.74 and €29.80.
Access to the labour market
The International Protection Bill should include a provision to allow protection applicants who are awaiting a first instance decision for nine months or more, and who have cooperated with the protection process, access the labour market.
Access to education
The Working Group recommends the extension of student supports for third-level and Post Leaving Certificate courses to persons in the system, who have been in the Irish school system for five years or more.
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