Asylum applications rocket by more than 400% with almost half coming from Georgia, Algeria and Somalia

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The number of asylum applications in Ireland rocketed by more than 400 per cent last year, with a fifth of people coming from Georgia.

Georgia has been declared a safe country of origin under the International Protection Act 2015.

The European Migration Network (EMN) Ireland within the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published the findings in its annual review of migration and asylum in Ireland.

A total of 13,651 applications for international protection were made in 2022, the ESRI report said.

This marked a significant increase from previous years. It is a 415 per cent increase from 2021 and a 186 per cent increase from 2019, the last comparable year before COVID-19 travel restrictions.

It is also the highest number of asylum applications on record in Ireland.

The top three countries of origin among applicants were Georgia (20 per cent), Algeria (13 per cent) and Somalia (12 per cent).

Applications for international protection in Ireland accounted for 1.3 per cent of the EU total.

Although Georgia is considered a safe country, a person may still apply for international protection if they can submit serious grounds that the country is not safe in terms of their own circumstances.

By November 2022, over 25 per cent of applications came from countries designated as safe countries of origin.

The ESRI report said that there has been “unprecedented pressure on reception systems” in the last year.

Some 141,600 people arrived in the year leading up to April 2023, the ESRI data says. This represents a 31 per cent increase from the year to April 2022.

However, emigration also increased as 64,000 individuals left Ireland during the same period, marking a 14 per cent increase from the previous year.

The ESRI stated that migration is “recovering quickly” following several years of travel restrictions. It also shows that migration is being impacted by shortages in the labour market and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

There was also an increase last year in first residence permits, which are granted to people outside the European Economic Area.

There were 85,793 permits issued in 2022, with education being the most common reason for permits. Some 39,995 employment permits were issued.

The ESRI report also found that foreign-born people in Ireland (including EU nationals and Irish citizens, as well as third-country nationals) have higher employment, education and activity rates than Irish-born people, as well as better self-reported health.

They also show a higher share of early school leavers, lower median annual net income, a higher risk of poverty and high housing costs.

The new ESRI report comes as fears grow about the Government running out of accommodation for asylum seekers before the end of the week.

Cabinet heard on Tuesday that Roderic O’Gorman’s Department of Integration is facing a “shortfall”.

In the Dáil on Wednesday, Justice Minister Helen McEntee acknowledged that there has been a “significant increase in those seeking protection in recent years”.

“At every step of the way we have done everything in our power to ensure that we are committed to and respond to our international obligations, that we provide support, that we provide a roof over people’s heads and that we make sure that people who need our help receive it. That will not change,” she said.

The Irish Mirror’s, By

Louise BurnePolitical Correspondent