The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today published ‘Immigration in Ireland: Annual Review 2018’. Providing the key statistics on all aspects of immigration in Ireland, the publication demonstrates the continuing attraction of Ireland as a destination for people to visit, work, study and invest.
Noting the figures, the Minister said:
“We continue to see strong growth in the numbers of people who want to visit our beautiful and welcoming country. Last year, we processed over 140,000 visa applications, an increase of almost 12%. Meanwhile the number of non-EEA nationals living in Ireland also increased last year by 11% to almost 143,000 people. Coming from a variety of countries across the world, they are contributing to the diversity of our nation and to our economic, social and cultural development.”
The review provides updated statistics on all aspects of immigration, including border management, visas, registration and residence, citizenship, international protection and removals from the state. Much of the increased visa demand is ascribed to Ireland’s strong economic performance and the introduction of new flight destinations to and from Ireland.
Referring to that, the Minister added: ‘When you add these figures to the numbers of visitors coming from countries which are not visa required, we can be encouraged at the extent to which Ireland is clearly seen as an attractive destination.’
Referring to changes in the way this year’s publication presents the statistics, the Minister also highlighted its new lay-out:
“The new user-friendly format of the Annual Review, along with the separate statistical annex that we are publishing for the first time, provides a clearer picture of the important work that we are doing in this area. More effective communication is a key part of the ongoing reform of the Immigration Service of my Department. The implementation of the Customer Service Improvement Plan for the Immigration Service, along with the development of new streamlined structures and work processes is a core element of our work for 2019 and beyond. This is helping us to achieve our publicly stated aim of a fair and efficient immigration system with the customer at the heart of our approach.”
Apart from statistics, the Review also includes an overview of key focus areas for 2019, as well as policy and operational developments which occurred during 2018. These ongoing changes include the rollout of online application forms and streamlined application processes.
Notes for Editors
The annual review of immigration in Ireland provides updated statistics on all aspects of immigration, including border management, visas, registration and residence, citizenship, international protection and removals from the state.
Immigration in Ireland: Annual Review 2018 is available here.
Highlights from the 2018 Review include:
Non-EEA nationals resident in Ireland
142,924 non-EEA nationals were registered to live in Ireland in 2018.
140,533 visa applications were made in 2018, a 12% annual increase.
121,220 visas were granted.
Much of increased demand is due to Ireland’s strong economic performance and the introduction of new flight destinations to and from Ireland.
The top ten countries of applicant origin for visa decisions in 2018 were: India, China, Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Philippines, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
Visas are only required for tourists travelling to Ireland from countries which are visa required. Therefore visitors from countries in the EEA, and countries such as USA, Canada and New Zealand are not captured within these statistics.
In addition, 53,762 re-entry visa applications were also processed during 2018 from visa required nationals already resident in Ireland. As part of the ongoing service improvement for customers, re-entry visas were abolished for adults in May.
Two new immigration pre-clearance schemes to assess people’s applications before they travel to work in Ireland were introduced in 2018:
the Minister of Religion scheme – 123 applications from people working for a recognised religious group were assessed in 2018. 81.5% of applicants were successful and granted permissions to enter and remain in the State for up to three years
the Volunteer scheme – 209 people who were invited to work with a registered charity or a qualifying sporting organisation were assessed in 2018. 81% were allowed to enter and remain in the State for up to two years
In 2018, almost 7,000 new citizens received their certificates of naturalisation at ceremonies in Killarney and Dublin – 8,225 certificates were issued in total during the year.
The top 10 nationalities of people naturalised in 2018 were: Poland, Romania, United Kingdom, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Latvia, China and Brazil.
Irish Refugee Protection Programme
By the end of 2018, over 2,000 people had arrived in Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Scheme, which was first established in September 2015 in response to the migration crisis in Europe.
International Protection (Asylum)
At the end of 2018, the International Protection Office had 5,700 internal protection applications on hand.
Following the introduction of labour market access in June 2018, 2,889 applications were received by the end of the year and 1,965 of these were granted permission to engage in employment and self-employment.
Tackling Illegal Immigration
Over 5,000 people were removed from the State in 2018, 95% of whom were refused entry at the port of entry and were returned to their point of origin.