Annual report on migration and asylum 2019: Ireland

December 23, 2020
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The Annual Report on Migration and Asylum 2019: Ireland provides an overview of trends, policy developments and significant debates in the area of migration and international protection during 2019 in Ireland.

Some important developments in 2019 included:

  • The General Scheme for an Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill was published during 2019. The General Scheme includes proposals for a seasonal employment permit and a special circumstances employment permit.
  • In December 2019, the establishment of the Expert Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process (Asylum Seekers), chaired by Dr Catherine Day, former Secretary General of the European Commission was announced.
  • Ireland announced plans to resettle up to 2,900 refugees under a new phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme between 2020 and 2023 at the Global Refugee Forum on 18 December 2019.
  • Community Sponsorship Ireland was launched as a national programme on 11 November 2019. Community Sponsorship provides an alternative resettlement stream involving community groups providing supports to arriving refugee.
  • Ireland abolished its re-entry visa system for holders of an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or the former Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card with effect from 13 May 2019.
  • The Migrant Integration Strategy 2017–2020: Progress Report to Government was published in June 2019.


Key figures for 2019:

  • According to Eurostat, some 168,297 residence permits were valid in Ireland as of 31 December 2019, an increase of 18.2 per cent over the total of 142,286 valid residence permits at the end of 2018.
  • Net inward migration for non-EU nationals at April 2020 is estimated at 19,000.
  • The number of newly arrived immigrants decreased slightly year on year to 85,400 at end April 2020 from 88,600 at end April 2019.
  • A total of 137,207 visas, both long and short stay, were issued in 2019.
  • A total of 16,383 employment permits were issued during 2019, an increase of 22 per cent over the 2018 total of 13,398. As in 2018, India was the top nationality, with 5,373 permits.
  • The International Protection Office (IPO) received 4,781 applications for international protection in 2019, an increase of 30.2 per cent from the 3,673 applications in 2018. Ireland’s applications accounted for 0.64 per cent of the total 745,255 applications made in the EU-28 countries in 2019.
  • A total of 298 deportation orders were effected in 2019. Some 255 third-country nationals availed of voluntary return, 106 of whom were assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
  • A total of 42 suspected victims of trafficking were identified during 2019.