Ireland has lowest refusal rate of asylum applicants

Ireland has lowest refusal rate of asylum applicants
Hungarian police officers cordon off a group of people at a temporary holding center for asylum seekers in Roszke, southern Hungary in 2015. Picture: AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

The Irish authorities had the lowest rate of refusal to applications from asylum seekers of any of the EU’s 28 member states last year.

Only 15% of first-time decisions on asylum applications in Ireland were rejected, compared to an EU average of 63%.

A total of 1,275 asylum seekers in the Republic were granted protection last year, of which 815 were awarded refugee status.

A further 215 were given subsidiary protection which recognises they faced a considerable risk if returned to their former country of habitual residence, while another 235 were granted permission to stay in Ireland on humanitarian grounds.

In addition, 340 individuals were granted refugee status under a resettlement programme. The overwhelming majority were Syrians.

The number of asylum seekers granted protection in Ireland last year represented 265 per million population — less than half the EU average of 650 per million.

The countries awarding the highest proportion of protection to asylum seekers relative to their own population were Austria, Sweden, and Germany. In contrast, the EU member states that accepted the least proportionate number of asylum seekers were Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Estonia.

Across the EU last year, almost 333,400 asylum seekers were granted protection — a reduction of almost 40% on 2017 figures, when 533,000 received a positive outcome to their asylum application.

Germany accounted for over 40% of all individuals granted protection by EU member states in 2018.

Almost three out of every ten beneficiaries of protection last year were Syrians. Other nationalities with high numbers of people granted asylum were Afghans and Iraqis. Citizens from only four countries had a majority of their applications for protection accepted — Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia.

The vast majority of applicants from Georgia, Albania, Pakistan, and Ukraine had their requests to be allowed remain in the EU rejected.

Syrians were the largest group granted protection status in 16 EU member states including Ireland where 420 were granted refugee status — a third of all cases. The second largest number to receive positive decisions were Zimbabweans (110), followed by Afghans (900).

The new EU figures also showed a total of 375 applicants failed to be granted asylum last year in the final appeal stage, while 270 were successful.

They also reveal that 15 unaccompanied minors sought asylum in Ireland in 2018 — half the figure of the previous year.

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