Helpful Advice/Explanation of Terms


Who is an Asylum Seeker?

An Asylum Seeker is a person who seeks to be recognised as a refugee in accordance with the terms of the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the related 1967 Protocol, which provide the foundation for the system of protection for refugees generally.

Who is a Refugee?

A Refugee is defined in section 2 of the International Protection Act 2015 as "a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it...."

Such refugees are known as "Convention" Refugees. The term "Convention" relates to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its protocol which sets out the criteria for granting refugee status.&n

Who is a Programme Refugee?

A Programme Refugee is defined in section 24 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) as "a person to whom leave to enter and remain in the State for temporary protection or resettlement as part of a group of persons has been given by the Government and whose name is entered in a register established and maintained by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, whether or not such a person is a refugee within the meaning of the definition of 'refugee' in section 2."

These are persons who are invited to Ireland by the Government usually in response to a humanitarian crisis and at the request of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In general, they have the same rights as Convention refugees

Are Accommodation Centres used exclusively by Asylum Seekers?

Yes, with one exception, all centres contracted by the Agency are used exclusively to house asylum seekers.

Destitute citizens from the 13 post 2004 Accession States (AC13) may reside for a short time in a RIA centre prior to their voluntary return. These are EU citizens and are not Asylum Seekers.