The Department of Justice and Equality’s annual review of Immigration in Ireland for 2017 provides a detailed look at changes made throughout the year to ensure that immigration law in Ireland is relevant, current and in line with EU legislation. Issues which were dealt with in the immigration in Ireland annual review included migration to Ireland, citizenship, common travel area, international protection, and refugees and asylum seekers.
The 2017 review confirms that due to the Ireland’s growing economy and positive international reputation this country is attractive to migrants who wish to work, study or settle here. Our rapidly growing immigration numbers are evidence of this. Visa applications have also increased dramatically and the number of people from non-EU countries legally living here increased by 13,000 between 2016 and 2017.
In 2017, 8,199 people became Irish citizens. The citizenship ceremonies took place the University of Limerick and the Convention Centre in Dublin. Since the citizenship ceremonies began in 2011, over 110,000 people have received their citizenship certificates at the ceremonies. Another topic discussed at the immigration in Ireland annual review was regarding the common travel area. Keeping the common travel area with the UK is one of the key Brexit priorities of Government, and this is reflected in the EU-UK joint report on the progress during Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiations. During the negotiations, it was recognised that Ireland and the UK may continue to make arrangements relating to the movement of people within the CTA and that both countries will fully respect the rights of people under EU law.
International protection is a topic that immigration law centres around. The International protection Act 2015 came into effect on the 31st of December 2016. The Act simplifies and streamlines existing international protection arrangements in Ireland. Applicants will be able to get a final decision on their protection application in a more straightforward and timely fashion. Two key developments in 2017 as a result of the Act were the establishment of the International Protection Office and the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. The IPO investigates applications for international protection. The IPAT hears appeals on decisions by the IPO. As part of Government response to the migration crisis, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme accepted 755 people into the country in 2017. Ireland does what it can to provide a safe haven for up to 4,000 under EU Relocation and Resettlement programmes. A significant number of people will qualify under family reunification.
In June 2017, the third and final report on the progress made on improving the protection process was published. The report showed that 133 for 173 recommendations have been fully implemented and 36 recommendations are in the process of being implemented or are partially implemented. This means 98% of the recommendations have been fully or partially implemented. The average length of time spent in State-provided residency centres has been reduced. In 2015, the average was 38 months. At the end of 2017, it was 23 months. This is expected to get shorter as the provisions in the Internationals Protection Act take effect.
At Berkeley Solicitors we support an effective, fair and transparent immigration system.