The Annual Report on Migration and Asylum 2016 provides an overview of trends, policy developments and significant debates in the area of asylum and migration during 2016 in Ireland.
Some important developments in 2016 included:
- The International Protection Act 2015 was commenced throughout 2016. The single application procedure under the Act came into operation from 31 December 2016.
- The International Protection Office (IPO) replaced the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) from 31 December 2016. The first instance appeals body, the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT), replacing the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT), was established on 31 December 2016.
- An online appointments system for all registrations at the Registration Office in Dublin was introduced.
- An electronic Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) was introduced.
- The Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme was extended for a further five years to October 2021.
- The Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking was published.
- 2016 was the first full year of implementation of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP). A total of 240 persons were relocated to Ireland from Greece under the relocation strand of the programme and 356 persons were resettled to Ireland.
- Following an Oireachtas motion, the Government agreed to allocate up to 200 places to unaccompanied minors who had been living in the former migrant camp in Calais and who expressed a wish to come to Ireland. This figure is included in the overall total under the IRPP.
- Ireland and Jordan were appointed as co-facilitators in February 2016 to conduct preparatory negotiations for the UN high level Summit for Refugees and Migrants. The New York Declaration, of September 2016, sets out plans to start negotiations for a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and a global compact for refugees to be adopted in 2018.
Key figures for 2016:
- There were approximately 115,000 non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in Ireland in 2016 compared to 114,000 at the end of 2015.
- Net inward migration for non-EU nationals is estimated to be 15,700.
- The number of newly arriving immigrants increased year-on-year to 84,600 at April 2017 from 82,300 at end April 2016. Non-EU nationals represented 34.8 per cent of this total at end April 2017.
- A total of 104,572 visas, both long stay and short stay, were issued in 2016.
- Approximately 4,127 persons were refused entry to Ireland at the external borders. Of these, 396 were subsequently admitted to pursue a protection application.
- 428 persons were returned from Ireland as part of forced return measures, with 187 availing of voluntary return, of which 143 were assisted by the International Organization for Migration Assisted Voluntary Return Programme.
- There were 532 permissions of leave to remain granted under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 during 2016.
- A total of 2,244 applications for refugee status were received in 2016, a drop of 32 per cent from 2015 (3,276).
- 641 subsidiary protection cases were processed and 431 new applications for subsidiary protection were submitted.
- 358 applications for family reunification in respect of recognised refugees were received.
- A total of 95 alleged trafficking victims were identified, compared with 78 in 2015.