289. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the status of plans for accepting migrants on humanitarian grounds; and the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic has halted these plans. [3108/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Irish Refugee Protection Programme Humanitarian Admission Programme (IHAP) was announced in May 2018 as part of the Government's plan to realise the full commitment of 4,000 persons agreed under the first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in September 2015. The processing of applications made under the IHAP programme is the only element of the IRPP that remains under my Department's remit following the transfer of this function to the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth on 14 October last.
The programme allows holders of an international protection status in Ireland, (i.e. refugees with Convention or Programme Refugee status), holders of Subsidiary Protection grants, and Irish citizens, to make a proposal to me to bring to the State their family members who are nationals of one of the top ten major source countries of refugees as identified by the UNHCR Annual Global Trends Report.
IHAP received proposals for inclusion in the programme within defined periods or ‘windows for submissions’. The first window for accepting proposals ran from 14 May 2018 to 30 June 2018. Processing of the proposals from this first window was completed in 2018. A second window for the submission of proposals ran from 20 December 2018 until 8 February 2019. The first IHAP round granted permission to 165 beneficiaries and a further 592 permissions have been granted to date in the second round.
When the IHAP was announced in May 2018, it was envisaged that there would be approximately 530 beneficiaries. In December 2019, the allocation was increased to approximately 740 beneficiaries. The number of people to benefit from the IHAP programme has already exceeded this figure. There are currently 11 proposals pending in respect of 29 beneficiaries from the second round, which has the potential to bring the final number of beneficiaries to 786.