New measures to expedite international protection application processing announced

30 Jan 2024


On 30 January,  the Department of Justice announced new measures to expedite international protection application processing.

As of 31 January, Algeria and Botswana will be considered as designated safe countries of origin for the purpose of making a claim for international protection in Ireland. The changes were made following a review of safe countries of origin in the context of international protection.

The EMN Glossary defines a safe country of origin as a country where on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law within a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be shown that there is generally and consistently no persecution, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no threat of indiscriminate violence in situations of armed conflict.

To speed up the processing time in response to the significant increase in international protection applications, the IPO made several operational changes in November 2022. This included a new procedure whereby all applicants applying for international protection complete a preliminary interview and the international protection questionnaire on the same day, and in English.

A new accelerated application procedure for those from safe countries of origin also was introduced in 2022. Applicants from designated safe countries receive their interview date on the day they apply for international protection, which means they complete the substantive interview in a shorter time frame than other applicants, generally within weeks. New regulations were also passed in 2022 to shorten time periods in relation to oral hearings for international protection appeals under certain circumstances, including when an applicant is from a safe country of origin.

The following countries are also designated as safe countries of origin:

  • Albania;
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • Georgia;
  • Kosovo;
  • North Macedonia;
  • Montenegro;
  • Serbia; and
  • South Africa.

Up to the end of 2023, 2,192 applications in total were managed through the accelerated process with 68% of applicants receiving a first-instance decision, of which 81% were negative.

The Department of Justice also announced the introduction of an expedited procedure for applications by people who have been granted protection in another EU Member State.

This follows the introduction of a visa requirement for people travelling to Ireland on a refugee travel document.


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