Minister Dermot Ahern announces end of year asylum statistics

The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., today announced provisional asylum figures for the year 2010.

In all, some 1,939 asylum applications were received in the State in 2010 representing a 27.9% decrease on the corresponding figure of 2,689 in 2009. This is the second successive year that asylum applications have fallen dramatically with applications now running at about half their 2008 level. More strikingly, asylum application numbers are now just one sixth of the peak figure of 11,634 reached in 2002. Since then the number of applications has fallen continuously. Indeed, asylum application numbers are now at levels not observed since the mid-nineties.

There were 1,266 (65.3%) male and 673 (34.7%) female asylum applications in 2010, while the corresponding figures in 2009 were 1,759 (65.4%) male and 931 (34.6%) female applications. This roughly 2-to-1 male-to-female ratio in asylum applications made in Ireland has persisted over time.    

The top five source nationalities for applications in 2010 were Nigeria (20.0%), followed by China (11.8%), Pakistan (10.3%), DR Congo (3.6%) and Afghanistan (3.6%). In 2009, Nigeria, Pakistan and China respectively were also the three largest source nationalities. Furthermore, over the past ten years Nigerians have consistently been the largest single source nationality for asylum applications reaching a peak of nearly 40% of all applications in 2003. In relative terms, the 20% share of asylum applications made by Nigerians in 2010 is just half the size of the 40% share recorded in 2003.

The Minister indicated that the reduction in the number of asylum applications over the years has resulted from, among other things, the success of strategies aimed at combating across the spectrum abuses of the asylum process and the streamlining of processing arrangements in the asylum area.

In assessing the figures for 2010 the Minister noted that:

247 deportation orders to non-EU countries were effected in respect of failed asylum seekers, representing a small increase of just 4% over the number of orders effected in 2009. The enforcement rate for deportation orders, that is deportations orders effected as a proportion of deportation orders signed in 2010, was almost 30%.

142 transfer orders to other European States were effected under the Dublin II Regulation, representing an enforcement rate of 54% for effecting transfer orders signed in 2010.   This compares to 61% in 2009, 74% in 2008 and 62% in 2007.  Ireland's enforcement rate in this regard is high by European standards and is due in the main to a number of strategies that have been adopted to improve the operation of the Dublin II Regulation in Ireland.

An additional 183 failed asylum seekers who would otherwise have been removed from the State opted to be assisted to return home voluntarily.

When voluntary returns, deportations and Dublin II transfers are taken into account, a total of 572 persons in the asylum system were either assisted to return home voluntarily, or removed from the State in 2010.

Commenting on these statistics, the Minister stated "I welcome the progress that continues to be made in the processing of asylum applications, particularly in light of the considerable challenge involved in this regard down the years.  The reduction in asylum applications in Ireland is a reflection of the ongoing work within the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service including the asylum agencies to combat abuse while at the same time ensuring fairness and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of procedures in this area. 

Sham Marriages
Our application numbers also need to be considered in light of the nearly 1,900 applications made in 2010 by non-EU nationals for residence based on marriage to an EU national in Ireland under EU Treaty Rights (EUTR) legislation. The numbers involved now almost equal our asylum application numbers.  The largest non-EU nationality group making such applications were from Pakistan which accounted for nearly 20% of all EUTR applications. More significantly, I would draw attention to the fact that almost two-thirds of these Pakistani applications involved an EU partner from the Baltic States. The high incidence of such marriages, several involving asylum seekers, is an ongoing concern that my officials in co-operation with their colleagues in other interested EU states continue to monitor.  In view of that, in addition to the interviewing of applicants, I have asked my officials to examine as a matter of urgency the possibility of deploying biometric technology in the context of visa applications from Pakistan.  This technology has proven to be very effective to date, particularly in the area of tackling abuses in the asylum, immigration and visa areas of activity."  
 
I am also pleased with the continued effective utilisation of the Dublin II Regulation which is a cornerstone of the European asylum system. These transfers reduce the number of asylum applications which have to be processed in the State and their associated cost.
"

In conclusion, the Minister thanked the staff in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and its related agencies (ORAC, RAT and RIA) for their work during the year.  He applauded the working relationship that exists between the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Once again he paid tribute to the Garda National Immigration Bureau for the critical work it undertakes in areas such as border management and illegal immigration generally, and moreover for the key enforcement work it undertakes in effecting removals from the State.


7 January 2011

1. Asylum Applications 1997-2010 

Year 

Jan 

Feb 

Mar 

April 

May 

June 

July 

Aug 

Sept 

Oct 

Nov 

Dec 

Total 

1997 

235

243

199

380

423

454

378

354

326

307

241

343

3883

1998 

321

425

632

407

390

440

449

407

313

246

278

318

4626

1999 

234

234

358

315

381

453

571

962

938

1051

1010

1217

7724

2000 

976

864

972

1036

802

677

773

919

963

1098

1096

762

10938

2001 

840

706

763

741

838

882

961

983

855

892

904

960

10325

2002 

838

763

932

888

795

869

1133

995

1199

1148

984

1090

11634

2003 

979

947

892

667

604

661

646

655

611

496

395

347

7900

2004 

392

363

501

377

403

324

371

401

466

329

409

430

4766

2005 

393

377

489

320

322

315

325

348

372

320

346

396

4323

2006 

405

313

438

282

412

278

313

332

422

394

415

310

4314

2007 

385

333

347

277

318

316

358

294

318

356

343

340

3985

2008 

329

296

299

300

301

330

339

333

360

357

325

297

3866

2009 

254

270

270

241

229

244

218

226

197

203

176

161

2689

2010 
189 176 167 161 179 154 162 174 155 143 154 125 1939

 

2. Top 5 Source Countries of asylum applications made in Ireland in 2010 and 2009
2010 2009

Country of Origin

Number of applicants

as % of overall applicants


Country of Origin

Number of applicants

as % of overall applicants

Nigeria

387

20.0%


Nigeria

570

21.2%

China

228

11.8%


Pakistan

257

9.6%

Pakistan

200

10.3%


China

194

7.2%

DR Congo

70

3.6%


DR Congo

102

3.8%

Afghanistan

69

3.6%


Zimbabwe

91

3.4%

Others

985

50.8%


Others

1,475

54.9%

Total

1,939

100.0%


Total

2,689

100.0%