Annual Report on Migration and Asylum gives overview of statistics and developments in migration in 2022

The European Migration Network (EMN) Ireland within the ESRI has published its annual review of migration and asylum in Ireland. The EMN is an EU network that provides objective, comparable policy-relevant information on migration and international protection. EMN Ireland is located in the ESRI and is funded by the European Union and the Department of Justice. With an overview of the latest data as well as policy and operational developments, research, and case law from 2022, this report is a comprehensive reference that gives an opportunity to view the entire migration landscape in Ireland.

The report shows that many forms of migration are recovering quickly from COVID-19 travel restrictions. It also shows that migration is being impacted by shortages in the labour market and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As a result of these developments and others, Ireland saw a significant increase in immigration, with 141,600 people arriving in the year leading up to April 2023, according to CSO figures. This represents a 31% increase from the year to April 2022. However, emigration also increased, with 64,000 individuals leaving Ireland during the same period, marking a 14% increase from the previous year.[1]

2022 saw a significant increase in first residence permits (which are granted to migrants from outside the EEA) from 2021. 85,793 permits were issued in 2022, with education the most common reason for permits (48%). Partially reflecting changes to eligible occupations for employment permits, the number of employment permits issued was the highest in the last 10 years. 39,995 employment permits were issued, with the information and communication sector the largest recipient of permits.

Key developments in this area highlighted by the report include discussions on and progress with the Employment Permits Bill, changes to the Atypical Working Scheme, plans for a single application procedure for employment permits and immigration permissions, and changes to employment permits occupation lists to respond to labour market shortages.

The report analyses international protection, showing significant increases in international protection applications as well as details of applications, decisions made, and statuses awarded. It shows an expansion of decision-making in response to increased applications. Looking at the broader EU situation, the report shows that applications for international protection in Ireland accounted for 1.3% of the EU total in 2022.

The report also details the pressure on the reception and accommodation system for international protection applicants and beneficiaries of temporary protection, as well as the extraordinary measures taken to scale these up. It highlights measures taken to implement the White Paper to End Direct Provision and informs on a review of timelines of the plan. It discusses changes made by the International Protection Office to speed up processing, and criticism of these measures by NGOs, as well as details of the regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants and the humanitarian admission of Afghans.

The Temporary Protection Directive – an EU Directive that creates an exceptional measure to provide immediate and temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons – was triggered for the first time in March 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As a result, the report includes a dedicated chapter with statistics relating to arrivals and a detailed overview of Ireland’s response to displaced persons from Ukraine. It also gives a comprehensive overview of other areas of migration, as well as research and case law from 2022, providing a crucial reference text for anyone working in the area.

[1]Note that these figures for immigration and emigration include Irish nationals.