New additions to safe country of origin list

02 Jul 2024


On 02 July 2024, the Department of Justice announced that Brazil, Egypt, India, Malawi and Morocco have been designated safe countries of origin for the purpose of making a claim for international protection in Ireland. Algeria and Botswana were also added to this list in January 2024. The purpose of the safe countries list is to expedite international protection application processing.

The existing list of safe countries includes Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

To speed up processing times in response to a significant increase in international protection applications, the IPO made several operational changes in recent years. In November 2022, a new procedure was introduced 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 November 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.

In January 2024, 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 in July 2022, which was extended in 2023 for a further 12 months.

In April 2024, it was announced that 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 planned to take place in July 2024. In April 2024, the country with the highest number of applications over the preceding three months was Nigeria.

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