State deported more than 5,000 people in 2018
Vast majority held at ports of entry before being sent back to country they travelled from
Some 95 per cent of people deported from the country were refused ‘permission to land’ by immigration officials. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
More than 5,000 people were deported from the State last year, the vast majority turned away at ports of entry, according to new immigration statistics.
Some 95 per cent of people deported from the country were refused “permission to land” at ports of entry by immigration officials. This cohort were held at ports for a period of time before they were deported back to the country whence they had travelled to Ireland.
Last year Ireland processed 140,533 visa applications, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year, according to the Department of Justice’s 2018 annual report on immigration.
Some 121,000 of the visa applications were granted by officials, according to the statistics. The highest number of visas were granted to applicants from India, with China and Russia the second and third highest. Pakistan was the fourth highest, followed by Nigeria, Turkey, Philippines, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
The report noted the statistics do not include immigrants from countries that do not require visas, such as the United States, New Zealand and Canada.
There were also 53,762 re-entry visa applications processed by immigration officials last year, for foreign nationals already living in Ireland.
The number of immigrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) living in Ireland increased by 11 per cent, to nearly 143,000 people last year.
More than 8,000 immigrants were naturalised as new Irish citizens last year. The most common nationality of those granted citizenship was Polish, followed by Romanian, then British, Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani, Filipino, Latvian, Chinese and Brazilian.
By the end of 2018, there were 5,700 applications for asylum in the system, according to the report. The direct provision system, set up to accommodate asylum seekers while their claims are processed, has faced serious capacity issues in recent months.
We continue to see strong growth in the numbers of people who want to visit our beautiful and welcoming country
The wider housing crisis has meant large numbers of asylum seekers who receive status to remain in Ireland find it difficult to secure private housing and leave direct provision.
The strain on the system has led to controversy in several rural areas, where department officials are considering locating new direct provision centres. Recently a large number of residents in Oughterard, Co Galway organised in opposition to officials considering locating a centre in the small rural town.
Just over 2,000 of 4,000 refugees Ireland has committed to resettle from Europe had been accepted into the country by the end of 2018, figures show.
The Irish Refugee Protection Scheme was set up in September 2015, in the wake of the wider migration crisis facing Europe. However, the number of refugees successfully accepted by Ireland has been hampered by delays, due to disputes with other countries.
Commenting on the launch of the report, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said “we continue to see strong growth in the numbers of people who want to visit our beautiful and welcoming country”.
“The number of non-EEA nationals living in Ireland also increased last year by 11 per cent to almost 143,000 people. Coming from a variety of countries across the world, they are contributing to the diversity of our nation and to our economic, social and cultural development,” he said.