93. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons from outside the European Economic Area who were refused asylum, work or study visa or residence applications by the United Kingdom authorities, and who subsequently entered Ireland from the United Kingdom and made similar applications to the Irish Government in each year from 2012 to 2015 to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42359/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The protection of the Common Travel Area is of outmost importance and the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Service (INIS) of my Department works closely with their UK counterparts across a number of areas to ensure that any abuses of the CTA are addressed.
Over the course of the past year or so, there has been a marked increase in the number of asylum applications from Southern Asian nationalities. Checks carried out show a previous UK immigration history in respect of a substantial number of these applicants. This year the number of applications for asylum is expected to reach over 3,300 compared to 1,448 last year. A large portion of this increase can be attributed to persons with previous UK immigration histories.
This matter has been raised at the highest levels between officials of the Department and the UK Home Office, specifically at meetings of the Common Travel Area Forum jointly chaired by the Acting Director of the INIS and his UK counterpart. Arising from this meeting a joint operation to detect illegal immigrants has been undertaken by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the UK Border Force to carry out checks at the ferry ports.
In addition, there is enhanced cooperation with the respective agencies and with the UK to fast track some applications under the Dublin Regulation to return the persons concerned to the UK as quickly as possible. A similar project is under way to fast track substantive asylum cases through to deportation stage and efforts are underway to enforce a number of Deportation Orders already processed where the applicants have been refused refugee status and leave to remain.
The immigration service works closely with the UK authorities to monitor and address any immigration abuses between the two countries and share relevant information on an ongoing basis in this regard.
It is not possible to compile the figures sought by the Deputy without expending a disproportionate amount of scarce resources. However, I can say that immigration controls at ports of entry to the State remains a crucial element of enforcement and the numbers of refusals of leave to land this year are expected to be significantly up on last years figure of 2,615. In that regard, it should be noted that in accordance with Section 4 of the Immigration Act, 2004, one of the grounds that a person can be refused leave to land is if the person concerned intends to travel (whether immediately or not) to the UK and would not qualify for admission had they come directly to the UK.