ESRI Survey and Statistical Report Series

Annual Report on Migration and Asylum 2020: Ireland

This report has been peer reviewed prior to publication. The authors are solely responsible for the content and the views expressed.

July 20, 2022
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The Annual Report on Migration and Asylum 2020: Ireland provides an overview of trends, policy developments and significant debates in the area of migration and international protection during 2020 in Ireland.

Some important developments in 2020 included:

  • A new programme for Government was published in 2020. It includes a number of immigration-related commitments in relation to undocumented migrants, the international protection process and reform of the ‘Direct Provision’ system, integration, anti-racism policy, migrant smuggling and trafficking.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic impacted travel and consequent migration to Ireland during 2020 and also impacted processing and provision of services. Many administrative changes were introduced during 2020 in order to keep the migration system functioning and to respond to particular needs during the pandemic. Valid residence permissions were extended from March 2020.
  • The Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Supports, including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process, was published in October 2020. The report found that the Direct Provision system is not fit for purpose and recommended that it be ended. The report made a range of specific recommendations in relation to reform of the international protection system.

 

Key figures for 2020:

According to Eurostat, some 155,317 residence permits were valid in Ireland as of 31 December 2020, a decrease of 7.7 per cent over the total of 168,297 valid residence permits at the end of 2019. The amount of first residence permits halved in 2020, with a total of 30,382 first residence permits granted, dropping from the 59,278 permits granted in 2019.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel, a total of 43,872 visa applications were made in 2020, a decrease of 71.8 per cent from the 155,761 applications received in 2019.

A total of 16,383 employment permits were issued during 2020, a slight increase over the 2019 total of 16,419 permits. As in 2019, India was the top nationality with 5,565 permits.

The International Protection Office (IPO) received 1,566 applications for international protection in 2020, a decrease of 67.3 per cent from the 4,781 applications in 2019. Ireland’s applications accounted for 0.33 per cent of the total applications made in the EU-27 countries in 2020.

According to rounded Eurostat figures, some 2,790 persons were refused entry at Ireland’s borders in 2020, a decrease of 62.5 per cent over 2019 when there were some 7,455 refusals of entry.

A total of 196 third-country nationals availed of voluntary return in 2020, 100 of whom were assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A total of 38 suspected victims of trafficking were identified during 2020.

A total of 10,181 citizenship applications were made during 2020. The greatest number of applications came from UK nationals, followed by India and Poland.