Further measures to expedite international protection application processing announced

24 Apr 2024


On 23 April, the Department of Justice announced further measures to expedite international protection application processing.

Commencing immediately, international protection applicants from the country which has the highest number of international protection applications in Ireland over the previous three months, will have their applications processed under an accelerated procedure.  Under this accelerated process, decisions will be made within 90 days. The country with the highest application numbers will be assessed on a rolling basis every quarter, with the next assessment taking place in July 2024.

This is a new process and is different from the accelerated process for countries on the safe country list which currently applies to nationals from Albania, Algeria, Botswana, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

Currently the country with the highest number of people seeking asylum in Ireland is Nigeria. According to recent statistics published by the Department of Justice, applications by Nigerian nationals accounted for 32.3% of the total between January to the end of March 2024. The top 5 nationalities applying for international protection in the period are Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia and Afghanistan. According to the same source there have been 5,162 applications for international protection in total to the end of March 2024, with 531 (10%) of these processed under an accelerated procedure.

Previous measures to expediate application processing

In January 2024 the Department announced that Algeria and Botswana will be considered as designated safe countries of origin for the purpose of making a claim for international protection in Ireland. This followed a review of safe countries of origin in the context of international protection.

Applications from Algeria have decreased significantly since the introduction of the accelerated procedure, with 1462 applications as of December 2023 (representing 11% of the total applications), to 65 applications as of 12 April 2024, representing 1.1% of the total applications.

Prior to this, in November 2022, to speed up the processing time in response to the significant increase in international protection applications, the IPO made several operational changes. This included a new requirement for applicants to 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 was also 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.

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