The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., today announced that 3,866 asylum applications were received in the State in 2008. This is a 3% decrease on the corresponding figure of 3,985 in 2007.

The top five source countries for 2008 were Nigeria (26.1%), Pakistan (6.1%), Iraq (5.3%), Georgia (4.7%) and China (4.7%). These were also the main source countries in 2007.

Asylum applications reached a peak figure of 11,634 in 2002. Since then application figures have been continuously falling with the most dramatic fall occurring in 2004. Moreover, in each year since 2006, the annual number of applications has been about one third of the number received in 2002. Indeed, asylum application numbers are now at levels not observed since the mid-nineties. This reduction in the number of asylum applications has resulted from the implementation of strategies aimed at combating abuse across the spectrum of the asylum process and streamlining the asylum procedure.

Commenting on the publication of these statistics, Minister Ahern said: "I welcome the fact that the annual trend in asylum applications continues to fall, which I believe is a reflection of the ongoing implementation of strategies aimed at combating abuse of the asylum process and the streamlining of its procedures.  This allows the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to continue to focus on other areas of its operations, such as processing applications for visas and citizenship, continuing to increase the effectiveness of returns strategies as well as other immigration related functions.

I am also pleased with the continued increase in the level of success in effecting transfer orders signed under 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.  The Government attaches particular importance to the use of the Dublin II arrangements and co-operation with other EU States, in particular, the United Kingdom. The Government will continue to use this effective Regulation in 2009."


In assessing the figures for 2008, it can be noted that:

The Minister also indicated that asylum processing continues to move strongly with:

Concluding, Minister Ahern said: "Further reductions in asylum numbers and processing times are likely under the new single procedure for investigating asylum cases set out in the new Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill. This reform of the processing framework will lead to the removal of the existing multi-layered and sequential process and will allow an applicant to get a final decision on their application in a more timely and efficient manner. 

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the staff of the Garda National Immigration Bureau for their important work in areas such as border management and illegal immigration generally, and for the important enforcement work they undertake in effecting deportation returns and transfer orders under the Dublin II Regulation."

5 January 2009
 
Note to Editors:

1. Asylum Applications 1997-2008
 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

 

2. Top 5 Source Countries of asylum applications made in Ireland in 2008 and 2007
2008  2007
 Country of Origin  Number of applicants as % of overall applicants
Nigeria 1,009  26.1%
Pakistan 237     6.1%
Iraq 203     5.3%
Georgia 181     4.7%
China 180     4.7%
Others 2,056  53.2%
Total 3,866  100.0%
 Country of Origin  Number of applicants as % of overall applicants
Nigeria 1,028  25.8%
Iraq 285     7.2%
China 259     6.5%
Pakistan 185     4.6%
Georgia 174     4.4%
Others 2,054  51.5%
Total 3,985  100.0%