The Minister of Justice and Equality has given legal effect to the new procedures for subsidiary protection from 20th April 2015 by the introduction of the EU (Subsidiary Protection) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 S.I. 137 of 2015.
The new law gives legal footing to the already existing arrangements in the Office of the Refugee Commissioner (ORAC):
• Any person who makes a new application for refugee status may also make an application for subsidiary protection in the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC);
• Any person who currently has an application for refugee status pending may also make an application for subsidiary protection in ORAC.
It means both asylum applications and subsidiary protection applications can now be submitted simultaneously by a new applicant. Those applicants who already have an existing asylum application prior to its determination, are now invited to make a subsidiary protection application at this stage. Any subsidiary protection applications in the State not yet determined prior to the new law coming into force will be transferred to ORAC.
It is a welcomed change in the law to address the long delays for subsidiary protection applications, which now allows the applications to be determined by ORAC in accordance with the provisions of the European Union (Subsidiary Protection) Regulations, 2013 (S.I. No. 426 of 2013) (as amended), and will be considered if a person’s application for refugee status is refused by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
It should be noted that a subsidiary protection application cannot be made as a standalone application as decided by the High Court in Haq Nawaz v Minister for Justice and Equality. The subsidiary protection application is still part of the asylum process therefore an applicant must be a failed asylum seeker first before the subsidiary protection application will be considered.