Written Answers - Asylum Applications.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 667 No. 2

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  17.  Deputy Denis Naughten  Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the number of asylum applications which have been deemed withdrawn in each year from 2000 inclusive to date in 2008 due to their failure to inform the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of their change of address; the number of such persons who have been issued with an intention to deport notification; the number deported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40063/08]

[325]Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The Immigration Act 2003, contained a number of key changes to the Refugee Act, 1996 which enabled the processing of asylum applications to be speeded up and enhanced the state’s ability to deal with abusive applications. These changes included the imposition on applicants of a clear statutory duty to actively pursue their asylum applications and co-operate at all times with the processing agencies or face having their applications deemed withdrawn.

The most common reasons for an application to be deemed withdrawn are where an applicant fails to attend for an interview at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) without reasonable cause; an applicant fails to co-operate with the Refugee Applications Commissioner after having lodged his or her application; or an applicant fails to notify the Commissioner of his or her postal address or change of address.

Statistics are not maintained in a way which distinguishes between applications deemed withdrawn on the basis of applicants failing to notify the Refugee Applications Commissioner of their postal address or change of address and applications deemed withdrawn for other reasons.

Figures in relation to asylum for the years 2000 to October 2008 are appended to my Reply. These figures show that since 2003 almost 5,799 asylum applications have been deemed withdrawn. In 2007 applications deemed withdrawn amounted to 1,777. To 31 October of this year the figures is 607.

Where an asylum application is deemed to be withdrawn the applicant is served with a notice of intent to deport under section 3(3)(a) of the Immigration Act, 1999. A person served with a notice of intent to deport is afforded certain options, viz. to leave the State voluntarily; to consent to the making of a Deportation Order; to make an application for subsidiary protection; or to make representations in writing within 15 working days setting out reasons as to why a Deportation Order should not be made and why temporary leave to remain in the State be granted instead.

Statistics are not maintained in a way which distinguishes between deportations effected arising from applications deemed to be withdrawn and other deportations. The overall number of deportations issued and effected in the period from 2003 to end of October 2008 is set out below.

Table 1 — Asylum applications deemed withdrawn 2000-2008 (31/10) (excluding asylum applications where the application was transferred to another Dublin Convention State)

Year Asylum applications deemed withdrawn
2000 n/a
2001 n/a
2002 n/a
2003 402
2004 1,734
2005 802
2006 477
2007 1,777
2008 (31/10) 607

[326]Table 2 — Deportation Orders Issued and Effected 2003 — 2008 (31/10)

Year All Deportation orders issued* All Deportation orders effected*
2003 1,960 591
2004 2,068 599
2005 2,185 396
2006 1,374 302
2007 404 135
2008 (31/10) 495 95

Section 22(8) of the Refugee Act (as amended), provides that where an asylum application has been transferred to another Convention country for examination or to a safe third country, the application shall be deemed to be withdrawn; see figures in Table 3 below.

Table 3 — Transfer Orders Effected 2003-2008 (31/10)

Year No. of asylum applications transferred to Convention countries
2003 0
2004 65
2005 209
2006 294
2007 225
2008 (31/10) 226

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