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Written Answers. - Asylum Applications.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 182. Mr. Shatter Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on John O'Donoghue Zoom on John O'Donoghue  the number of asylum applicants awaiting a decision from the office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner; the number of asylum applicants awaiting an appeal from the Refugee Appeals Tribunal; and the number of asylum applicants in respect of whom deportation orders have been made but not implemented. [3822/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): Information on John O'Donoghue Zoom on John O'Donoghue I am informed by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner that there are some 7,700 asylum applications awaiting final decision in that office. This figure refers to all applications received up to 6 February 2002. Of these nearly 3,400 have been scheduled for interview or have completed the interview process and are awaiting decision.

The Refugee Appeals Tribunal has informed me that the estimated number of appeals on hands at end January is 2,460. This figure refers to all appeals received up to 31 January 2002.

It is evident that the increase in processing capacity which has been put in place in both the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, ORAC, and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal as part of the Government's asylum strategy is making a real impact on the backlog of cases and is helping to progressively reduce processing times. For example, since July 2001 cases scheduled, processed and completed have significantly exceeded intake; over 97% of pre-2001 cases outstanding on or received since 20 November 2000 have now been offered a substantive interview. Thus, from January 2002 the ORAC is focusing on applications submitted in 2001; at 31 December 2001, only some 4,400 applications were on hands for more than six months in the ORAC and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and the majority of these are in the final stages of processing; in the ORAC, the number of interviews scheduled for 2001 was more than double the figure for 2000; and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal scheduled 170% more hearings in 2001 as compared with 2000.

I have made 3,359 deportation orders since the commencement of the Immigration Act, 1999, to [1636] 1 February 2002. The majority of these orders have been made in respect of persons refused refugee status. A total of 588 of these orders have been effected to date by the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Some 43 persons are known to have left the State before the orders could be effected and 362 removals are in the process of being arranged. A total of 135 persons have been granted leave by the High Court to seek judicial review of my decision to deport them, 360 orders have been revoked or are being revoked mainly for legal reasons and 1,871 persons are evading deportation orders or are not at their last known address and are being sought by the Garda National Immigration Bureau. A further 680 persons who made asylum applications and subsequently withdrew them before a final decision was made, or were served with a notification of intention to deport having been refused refugee status, are known to have left the State voluntarily since 1999.

 183. Mr. Shatter Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on John O'Donoghue Zoom on John O'Donoghue  the number of asylum applicants given permission to remain here in 2001 on humanitarian grounds after their application for political asylum was refused; and the number of persons awaiting decision on applications made to him for permission to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds. [3823/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): Information on John O'Donoghue Zoom on John O'Donoghue A total of 70 persons were granted temporary permission to remain in the State in 2001 after their application for political asylum was refused. This number includes some persons whose leave to remain was renewed during 2001. I am informed that 1,813 persons are currently awaiting a decision in relation to their application to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds.

Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 179.

Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 180.


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