Returning rejected asylum seekers: practices and challenges in Ireland
This report has been peer reviewed prior to publication. The authors are solely responsible for the content and the views expressed.
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This study maps the legislation and procedures in place in Ireland relating to the return of rejected applicants for international protection (asylum), and examines specific challenges and practices which arise in relation to return, and policies to overcome these challenges. The study draws on the EU-level synthesis report to identify comparisons and differences between legislation and practice in Ireland and other EU Member States. The study is written at a time when return of irregular migrants from the EU is a policy priority of particular concern, which has been affected by the migration crisis. The study finds that while Ireland is not affected by the migration crisis to the same extent as some other EU Member States, effective return is still a priority for Irish policy makers. The study takes into account new legal provisions under the International Protection Act 2015 and compares them to the former applicable legal framework. The study highlights some key differences between Ireland and other EU Member States. A key difference is that Ireland is not bound by the Return Directive (Directive 2008/115/EC). In addition, there are differences in relation to the material supports offered to protection applicants once their applications have been rejected and prior to return. Some EU Member States are moving towards a policy of reducing the material supports available to rejected applicants in order to disincentivise stay. In Ireland, rejected applicants who are resident in State accommodation provided as part of the direct provision system, in practice, remain in their accommodation until they leave the State voluntarily or are removed. The study also shows that Ireland shares some key challenges to effective return in common with other EU Member States, primarily in relation to difficulties in identifying and documenting returnees and effective cooperation with third countries in readmitting their own nationals. Ireland also experiences challenges specific to the Irish context, including in relation to the duration of the protection application process, and also challenges that can arise directly from jurisprudence.