State moves over Pakistani and Bangladeshi asylum seekers
Contact made with UK as Minister for Justice expresses concern at rise in male applicants
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said “there is a very particular profile in relation to that group of young men who are coming in on their own, many of whom have a previous history of getting visas in the United Kingdom”. Photograph: EPA
The Department of Justice is in contact with authorities in the United Kingdom about the increase in numbers of young Pakistani and Bangladeshi men seeking asylum in Ireland, the Minister of Justice has said.
It follows a report in The Irish Times which revealed that asylum applications are set to almost treble by the year end, with applications from Pakistani and Bangladesh nationals accounting for most of the increase.
Speaking in Brussels on Monday where she was attending an emergency meeting of justice and home affairs ministers on the refugee crisis, Frances Fitzgerald said the Government is working closely with UK authorities to deal with the issue, which has been notable for young men on student visas in the UK travelling to Ireland in order to prolong their stay in Europe.
“We are concerned about that, we are examining it [ . . . ]Everybody is of course entitled to a full assessment but there is a very particular profile in relation to that group of young men who are coming in on their own, many of whom have a previous history of getting visas in the United Kingdom.”
On Tuesday the Minister will bring the International Protection Bill to Cabinet, which aims to streamline the asylum application process for migrants entering Ireland. The Bill will ensure that assessments of asylum status are completed in a much shorter time frame, said the Minister.
“That’s been one of the big problems – the length of time. This is a much more effective system than is being put before Cabinet for introduction within the next few weeks in the Dáil.”
As EU justice ministers discussed the latest developments in the refugee crisis which has left many European countries struggling to cope with the number of migrants entering their borders, Ms Fitzgerald said that Ireland remained ready to begin accepting refugees under the EU relocation plan next month.
“Work has begun on having the reception and orientation centres in place. We have given our liaison people’s names to the commission and to the relevant bodies. All of that has been done, so certainly we are prepared in Ireland to begin the process.”
Despite the EU agreeing on a contentious relocation plan to redistribute up to 160,000 migrants across the bloc in September, the rate of implementation of the relocation plan has been slow. The first 30 migrants to be relocated from Greece were transported last week, despite thousands of refugees arriving there daily. Ireland is due to receive up to 600 Syrian and Eritrean nationals under the relocation plan.
In a sign of continuing crisis within the EU as it struggles to cope with the influx of refugees arriving, justice ministers on Monday came up with a fresh proposal to deal with migration – a series of “processing centres”.
These would be built along the migration route, including in non-EU countries in the Balkans. They would be separate to the “hot spots” that have been established by the European Commission in frontline member states such as Italy and Greece, but have been overwhelmed by the numbers.
EU migration commissioner Dmitris Avramopoulos said that the processing centres would not be detention centres, but would allow migrants to be registered and identified through the data they provide.
Announcing the scheme, Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, said its aim was to slow down the inflow of refugees into the European Union.
“The idea is to slow down the flow of refugees in a situation where there is a massive influx like we’re seeing at the moment . . . We need to know who is knocking on our door, who exactly they are,” he said, stressing that refugees had to co-operate with authorities.
“The policy of just letting people through, to cross the border, is over. We can’t do that . . . Europe must stay open , but it has to be a Europe where the rules we have given ourselves are respected,” he said.