Cabinet suspends visa free travel for refugees from 20 safe European countries

Refugees coming here from 20 ‘safe’ European countries will need a visa from today under new rule changes.

The Cabinet signed off on suspending visa free travel yesterday, due to concerns the immigration system was being ‘exploited’.

The suspension takes effect from midday and will last for a period of 12 months.

Ukrainians arriving here will not be impacted by the rule changes.

Fine Gael Senator and barrister Barry Ward says there’s concern in government the system is being abused.

“The Department of Justice has noticed that a number of applications for international protection in Ireland, quite a substantial proportion of the overall number of applications are coming from people who have already applied for international protection in other countries like Germany, or France or Poland or wherever it may be.

“It’s really an effort to protect the integrity of the international protection system, and ensure that people apply in the country in which they first arrive.”

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