For Written Answer on : 27/04/2022
Question Number(s): 127 Question Reference(s): 21347/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Justice the number of asylum seekers currently awaiting entry into the international protection system; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The overall objective of my Department is to have recommendations made on international protection applications as soon as possible. This ensures that those who are found to be in need of protection from the State can receive it quickly and begin rebuilding their lives here with a sense of safety and security.
For the sake of clarity, I should firstly explain that anyone who wishes to make an application for international protection must proactively do so on their own behalf and on behalf of any of their minor family members. If they apply initially at their port of entry to the State they will still need to make a formal application at the Dublin offices of the International Protection Office (IPO) of my Department. There is no need to make an appointment. Everyone completes their preliminary interview under Section 13 of the International Protection Act 2015 on the day they first attend the IPO offices. Therefore, there are no applicants waiting for a preliminary interview.
Applicants will generally receive the Temporary Residence Certificate on the same day they complete their application if there is no language barrier and if the number of applications the IPO received on that given day is not excessively high.
If an interpreter is required to assist them or for other reasons beyond the control of the IPO, the applicant may need to be called back to complete their application. The call back appointment is usually arranged quickly, unless there is a difficulty with sourcing an interpreter for the required language.
In recent months, the number of people claiming international protection has increased significantly with approximately 1,039 new applications received in the month of March alone. This has unfortunately impacted the IPO’s ability to complete an application and issue TRC cards on the same day to applicants. There are currently approximately 937 applicants who need to return to complete their applications.
The IPO has identified the practical efficiencies that can be made to improve the process and has put in place measures to ensure that the call back appointments are cleared as quickly as possible for the benefit of applicants allowing the majority of applicants complete the entire process on the first day. The target is to have up to 300 call back slots taking place per week to eliminate the backlog in the shortest timeframe possible, including by offering appointments at weekends. The IPO is determined to maintain the positive momentum around this approach and to continuing to ensure that the majority of new applicants receive their TRC cards on the day of application.
You may be interested to know that the IPO received its highest ever number of daily applicants on 19 April 2022 (163 new applicants). All 163 people received their TRC cards on the same day, eliminating the need for call back appointments.