A total 177 people who were made the subject of deportation orders have left the State so far this year, most on a voluntary basis, according to figures released by the Department of Justice.
While the total number of live deportation orders is about 12,000, many of those are “historical” and relate to people who voluntarily left the State without informing the authorities, a department spokesman said.
Deportation and removal processes are “an essential part of any immigration system”, he said. “It must be acknowledged that those who do not have a legal right to remain here must return to their own country following fair procedures and having gone through all available avenues for appeal.”
He said while removals can be enforced, many people leave voluntarily and, where appropriate, are assisted by the department and other organisations, such as the International Organisation for Migration.
The removal processes resumed at the end of July last following the lifting of Covid-19 public health restrictions and a return to more normal travel.
There is evidence that a significant number of those issued with a deportation order voluntarily leave the State without notifying the immigration authorities of their departure, he said. As a result the number of live deportation orders does not reflect the number of people in the State without permission.
In the year to date the total number of people who have been removed, or who removed themselves and notified the department of that, is 177.
That comprises 16 enforced deportations; 87 self-deportations; 30 removals under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 (applicable only to EU citizens and those with EU rights of residency); two persons transferred under the Dublin III regulation (requiring that asylum applications be made in the first EU country of arrival); and 42 people, most of whom would be deemed “vulnerable” individuals, who were subject of voluntary returns.
The cost of flights associated with enforced deportations and EU removals from January 2022 to date was €147,148, excluding voluntary returns.
Provisional operational costs associated with the investigation of relevant cases and removal from the State in relation to the 16 enforced deportations were €152,550.
Operational costs associated with EU removals are not currently available, the spokesman said.
The voluntary return costs to June 2022, the latest information available, amounted to €438,512. That sum includes pre-return counselling, flights, medical supports, escorts and a post-return reintegration grant.
The non-EU destinations for deportees included Barbados, Albania , Bangladesh, Brazil , Mauritius, Malawi, Philippines and Georgia. EU destinations included Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Germany, France, Slovakia, Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Greece.