Covid-19 causes 91% drop in numbers seeking asylum

New figures released by State agency, the International Protection Office (IPO) show that for the month of April only 30 people sought asylum here.
Covid-19 causes 91% drop in numbers seeking asylum
The Department of Justice. File image

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a collapse in the numbers seeking asylum here.

New figures released by State agency, the International Protection Office (IPO) show that for the month of April only 30 people sought asylum here.

This compares to 344 seeking asylum here for the same month in 2019 - a drop of 91%.

The collapse in numbers seeking asylum here coincided with a 99% drop in passenger traffic through the main gateway to Ireland at Dublin airport during April as airlines ceased the bulk of their scheduled flights due to Covid 19 restrictions.

48% drop since January

The figures for the first four months by the IPO show that numbers seeking asylum here has almost halved on the same period for last year.

The statistics provided by the IPO show that from the start of January to the end of April this year, there have been 759 applications for asylum.

This compares to 1,467 for the same period of 2019 - a drop of 48%.

An analysis of the figures by the IPO show that four of the five top nationalities to seek asylum this year are from Africa.

They show that Nigeria is ranked first with 82 applications (10.8%); Zimbabwe - 66 applications (8.7%); South Africa - 56 applications - (7.4%); Somalia - 52 applications (6.9%) while Pakistan accounted for 44 applications at 5.8%.

The breakdown of the top nationalities to seek asylum in 2020 is in contrast to the same period last year when asylum seekers from Albania accounted for 19.4% or 285 applications with Georgia ranked second with 160 applicants representing 10.9% of applicants.

The monthly breakdown shows that even before travel restrictions arising from Covid 19 were introduced, the numbers seeking asylum here this year was on the decline.

The figures show that for January, 306 sought asylum here and this compared to 411 for January 2019 - a drop of 25% while numbers seeking asylum here in February totalled 246 - a drop of 28.5% on the 344 who sought asylum here in February 2019.

The impact of Covid 19 on the numbers seeking asylum began to be felt in March when 177 claimed asylum here - a drop of 52% on the 368 who sought asylum here in March 2019.

Dept of Justice figures show the spend on direct provision for asylum seekers last year increased by €51.41m, to to €129.4m.

The jump in spend came against the background of applications for asylum last year increasing by 30% to 4,782.

The 4,782 total represents an increase of 113% over the four-year period.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up