372. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the new legislation for asylum seekers; and when she expects it to be before Dáil Éireann; and the implications it will have for the long-standing asylum seekers here. [12686/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): On 25 March 2015 I published the General Scheme of the International Protection Bill, which was approved by Government last week, and which proposes to establish a single applications procedure for international protection. This is the first step in delivering the Government's undertaking in the Statement of Government Priorities 2014 - 2016 to legislate to reduce the length of time protection applicants spend in the system.
This reform will simplify and streamline existing arrangements and provide applicants with a final decision on their protection application in a more straightforward and timely fashion and will also, as a consequence, reduce the length of time that applicants spend in the Direct Provision system.
In accordance with the Government decision I have forwarded the General Scheme of the Bill to the Attorney General for the detailed drafting of the legislation which, subject to the approval of the Government at a future time, will be presented to the Oireachtas for enactment into law. My aim is for the legislation to be enacted by the end of this year.
The General Scheme proposes transitional provisions in relation to applicants who are already proceeding through the existing asylum system. It is proposed that certain categories of applicants will be brought within the scope of the new single procedure while preserving decisions already made by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Applicants who are not brought within the scope of the new procedure will continue to have their applications processed in accordance with the existing legal framework.