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Prioritisation of applications

Designation by the Minister for Justice and Equality of certain countries as safe countries of origin.

Under section 12(4) of the Refugee Act 1996, the Minister for Justice and Equality may, after consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, designate a country as a safe country of origin. In deciding whether to make such a designation, the Minister shall have regard to whether the country is party to certain international human rights instruments as specified in the 1996 Act; whether it has a democratic political system and an independent judiciary; and, whether it is governed by the rule of law.

On 15 November 2004, the Minister designated 
South Africa as a safe country of origin, with effect from 9 December 2004.

Therefore, if it appears to the Commissioner that an applicant for refugee status is a national of, or has a right of residence in, a country designated by the Minister as a safe country of origin, then the applicant shall be presumed 
not to be a refugee unless they can show reasonable grounds for the contention that they are a refugee.

Direction by the Minister for Justice and Equality concerning the prioritisation of certain classes of applications.

Under section 12(1) of the Refugee Act 1996, the Minister may give a direction to the Commissioner to give priority to certain classes of applications.

The Minister has issued prioritisation directions that apply to persons who are nationals of, or have a right of residence in, the following countries:

South Africa

This means that if an applicant falls within the above categories, their application will be given priority and may be dealt with by the Commissioner before other applications.

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