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Immigration in Ireland in 2012

Date Published: 03-01-2013

The Department of Justice and Equality release key figures on immigration-related activity in Ireland in 2012 and outline plans for 2013.

Significant developments in 2012 were also noted, including the implementation of the Immigrant Investor and Start-up Entrepreneur Programmes, the extension of the short-stay Visa Waiver Programme until October 2016, the implementation of a civilian Immigration Officer pilot project at Dublin airport and continued citizenship ceremonies (38 ceremonies in 2012).

Key figures for 2012*

  • Census 2011 shows that the non-Irish national population accounts for 12% (544,000 people) of the national population.
Registrations of permission to remain in the State
  • The number of non-EEA nationals registered with permission to remain in the State was provisionally 115,000 at the end of 2012 (compared to 128,200 in 2011).
  • Top 5 registered nationalities were from:  India (11%), Brazil (10%), Nigeria (9%), China (8%) and USA (8%).
Visa applications
  • Approximately 88,000 entry visa applications were received (91% approval rate for the year) in 2012, an increase of 6% on 2011 figures.
  • Top 5 nationalities of visa applicants were from: India (16%), Russia (14%), China (11%), Nigeria (8%) and Turkey (5%).
Naturalisation / Citizenship
  • 25,000 applications for citizenship were decided in 2012 compared to 16,000 in 2011.
International Students
  • Approximately 31,400 non-EEA national students (25% of total registered non-EEA nationals) are registered to study in the State.
International Protection and Asylum
  • Provisional figures for 2012 show that 950 new applications for asylum were submitted, compared to 1,290 in 2011.
  • In 2012, 2,260 people were refused entry into the State and subsequently returned.
  • 298 unsuccessful asylum applicants and irregular migrants were deported during 2012 from Ireland.
  • 68 asylum seekers were transferred under the Dublin Regulation to the EU Member State in which they first applied for asylum.
  • 55 EU nationals were returned to their countries of origin following an EU Removal order.
  • 467 people returned voluntarily of which 383 were assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Immigration data sharing with the UK
  • Since June 2012 almost 3,000 Irish visa applicants were cross-checked with the UK’s immigration fingerprint database.
  • 1,750 unsuccessful asylum applicants were checked against UK immigration records in 2012, with almost 30% matched to UK records.

* Figures are provisional

Reform plans for 2013

  • Further promotion of the Immigration Investor and the Start-Up Entrepreneur Programmes, and the short-stay Visa Waiver Programme.
  • Extension of the civilianisation of Immigration Officer functions at Dublin Airport as well as other ports of entry to the State.
  • Publication and enactment of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill.
  • Continued cooperation with the UK on the Common Travel Area arrangement signed in December 2011 including a short-stay Common Travel Area visa to allow travel freely between Ireland and the UK.
  • Introduction of the Gathering Ireland 2013 visa to encourage and assist visitors to  attend events under the Gathering initiative.
  • Reduce the time spent by applicants in Direct Provision accommodation.
  • Removal of irregular migrants and enforcement of deportation orders.
  • Deliverance of migration, asylum and visa aspects of the Programme of Work associated with Ireland’s Presidency of the EU.
For more information:

See Department of Justice and Equality Press Release

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