Written Answers. - Migration and Asylum Issues.

Conor Lenihan

Question:

293 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the breakdown of the numbers of deportation orders his Department has enforced against people who have been found to be illegally resident here for each of the past five years. [3825/03]

The breakdown of the numbers of enforced deportation orders which I am supplying refer to the deportation of illegal immigrants, persons refused refugee status in the State and persons whose applications for asylum have been transferred to another EU state under the Dublin Convention for each of the past five years. The vast majority of the removals were in respect of persons refused refugee status in the State.

Deportations effected

Year

Number

1998

64

1999

6

2000

187

2001

365

2002

521

2003 (up to 11 February)

79

Conor Lenihan

Question:

294 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the breakdown of the full cost of enforcing deportation orders against non-nationals; and the total amount of money spent by his Department for each of the past five years in relation to asylum seekers. [3826/03]

The deportation costs which I am supplying refer to the deportation of illegal immigrants, persons refused refugee status in the State and persons whose applications for asylum have been transferred to another EU state under the Dublin Convention. The vast majority of the removals were in respect of persons refused refugee status in the State.

Cost of Deportations 1999-2003

Year

No of PersonsDeported

Cost

1999

6

IR £ 21,539.50

2000

187

IR £ 339,798.77

2001

365

IR £ 921,114.28

2002

521

€1,816,313.76

2003 (up to 18.1.03)

41

€64,716.48

These figures include the cost of flights for deportees and their Garda escorts, but not the cost of Garda overtime or subsistence. These latter costs are not readily available.
The figure for 2002 includes the cost of chartering three aircraft, one to Algeria in January and two to Nigeria in March and November. These charters were necessary as commercial airlines refused to carry some of the deportees concerned following earlier disruptive behaviour by them on board regular flights. There were no charters in earlier years and none to date in 2003.
The total allocated in my Department's Vote for asylum and immigration related services for the years 1998 to 2002 is as follows:

Year

Subhead G

Subhead G1

1998

IR £4,168,000

1999

IR £6,945,000

IR £1,000,000

2000

IR £6,634,000

IR £1,000,000

2001

IR £24,793,000

IR £8,099,000

2002

€38,456,000

€9,000,000

Conor Lenihan

Question:

295 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his Department has liaised with other relevant Departments to compile accurate figures as to the total annual cost of providing for asylum seekers and refugees here. [3827/03]

My Department is in the process of compiling statistics on the overall cost of providing services for asylum seekers in the State for 2002. The information is being compiled in co-operation with the main Departments, in addition to my own, which are responsible for the provision of services to asylum seekers while they are awaiting a determination on their asylum applications, namely the Departments of Social and Family Affairs; Education and Science; Health and Children and the Environment and Local Government and the Office of Public Works.

While detailed statistics for all relevant service provision may not be available, it is expected that the total cost of providing services for asylum seekers for 2002 will be shown to be in the region of €300 million as compared with some €212 million in 2001.

In 2002 the total cost to my own Department of asylum and related immigration activities, including the provision of legal aid and advice by the refugee legal service, was in the region of €46 million.

No detailed costs are available to me for 2002 for the provision of services to persons who obtained refugee status in the State. Such costs would be met by the relevant Departments providing such services.

Conor Lenihan

Question:

296 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the new legislative, policy or operational initiatives he intends to take to curb the number of people travelling here as illegal migrants. [3828/03]

A number of ongoing operational initiatives have yielded significant dividends in terms of curbing the number of people entering this State as illegal migrants.

The development of Garda national immigration bureau liaison arrangements with immigration authorities in other jurisdictions, particularly in France and the UK, has had a substantial impact on reducing the flow of illegal immigrants on certain routes to Ireland. For instance, the continuing co-operative strategy on the Cherbourg-Rosslare ferry route has resulted in a significant increase in the numbers of persons refused permission to travel on this route on the basis that they were carrying false or inadequate documents.

Attempts by illegal migrants to gain entry at the frontiers of the State are being checked by effective controls at the point of entry. In 2002 immigration officers refused leave to land to 4,417 persons, a considerable increase on the 2001 figures of 3,301. In this context, the recent extension of the Garda national immigration bureau's computer system to the main ports of entry to the State will provide invaluable assistance in detecting and preventing illegal immigration.

Together with this emphasis on prevention of illegal immigration into the State, we are focusing resources on ensuring the removal of those persons found to be illegally in the country. The successful implementation of this initiative is reflected in the increased number of deportations effected last year, 521, which shows an increase on the previous year's figures.

I view the continued operation of these initiatives as a critical element in our efforts to combat illegal immigration into this State.
As Minister, I have brought forward the Immigration Bill 2002 which on 4 February 2003 passed all stages of the Seanad and is awaiting Dáil Second Stage. The Bill places an obligation on a carrier to ensure that each non-national passenger seeking to land in the State or transit a port in the State has a valid passport and, if necessary (depending on the nationality of the person) a visa. Contravention of these requirements will constitute an offence punishable by a fine.
The Bill, in section 4, creates a statutory offence for an employer to employ a non-national without an employment permit or for an employee to work without an employment permit. Current law as set out in Article 4 of the Aliens Order 1946 only makes it an offence for the employee to work without an employment permit. It sends a clear message to employers that the employment of illegal migrants has serious consequences and should make Ireland less attractive to illegal migrants.
In relation to the refugee determination process, it is also my intention to have a number of substantial amendments to the Refugee Act 1996 enacted which will deal, in particular, with the misuse of the asylum process. Such abuse gives rise to a situation where some 50% of asylum claims are not being pursued to finality, thus tying up large amounts of resources in the asylum processing area which could be more effectively utilised for other purposes, such as integration initiatives for refugees. The amendments, a number of which have already been agreed by Seanad Éireann, in the Immigration Bill 2002 include provisions aimed at ensuring that applicants more actively pursue their asylum applications, the more effective application of the Dublin Convention and at ensuring that claims for refugee status which are manifestly unfounded are dealt with in a more accelerated manner.

Conor Lenihan

Question:

297 Mr. C. Lenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the proposals he has made to European Union ministerial colleagues in relation to having a co-ordinated European policy in migration and asylum issues. [3829/03]

Ireland is supportive in principle of the concept of a common EU asylum and migration policy based on the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam (Title IV thereof) and its related protocols. However, one of the principal considerations of the State in considering whether to take part in the adoption of measures in the asylum area, and more especially the immigration area, under the Amsterdam treaty provisions is the consequences for the maintenance of the common travel area with the United Kingdom.

The application of Title IV of the EC treaty to Ireland and the UK is subject to the provisions of a Fourth Protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam the effect of which is that the State has three months from the date a proposal or initiative is presented to the Council by the Commission to notify the President of the Council in writing of its wish to take part in the adoption and application of any such proposed measure (Article 3 of the Protocol).
The Irish position in relation to the establishment of common EU asylum and migration policies is quite clearly set out in the Declaration appended to the Treaty of Amsterdam which states:
Ireland declares that it intends to exercise its right under Article 3 of the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland to take part in the adoption of measures pursuant to Title IIIa (Title IV) of the Treaty estab lishing the European Community to the maximum extent compatible with the maintenance of its common travel area with the United Kingdom. Ireland recalls that its participation in the Protocol on the application of certain aspects of Article 7a of the Treaty establishing the European Community reflects its wish to maintain its common travel area with the United Kingdom in order to maximise freedom of movement into and out of Ireland.
Ireland can also opt to participate in any instrument after it has been adopted by Council (Article 4 of the Protocol).
The Deputy will find attached a tabular statement which provides a summary of the proposals dealing with the common EU asylum and migration policy published by the Commission to date some of which have been adopted by the Council while others are still being discussed at Council working party level.
Asylum

Measure

Has Ireland exercised the fourth Protocol option?

Has this measure been adopted by Council?

Council Decision establishing a European Refugee Fund

Yes

Yes

Council Regulation concerning the establishment of EURODAC for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of the Dublin Convention

Yes

Yes

Council Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for asylum lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national

Yes

No

Proposal for a Council Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status

Yes

No

Proposal for a Council Directive laying down minimum standards on the reception of asylum seekers in Member States

No

Yes

Council Directive laying down minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals and stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection (i.e. subsidiary protection).

Yes

No

Migration

Measure

Has Ireland exercised the fourth Protocol option?

Has this measure been adopted by Council?

Amended proposal on the right to family reunification

No

No

Proposal for a Council Directive concerning the status of third country nationals who are long-term residents

No

No

Proposal for a Council Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purposes of paid employment and self-employed economic activities

Yes

No

Proposal for a Council Directive on the short-term residence permit issued to victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration or trafficking in human beings who co-operate with the competent authorities

No

No

Proposal for a Council Directive on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States

Not applicable

No

Council Directive on the minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and of measures promoting a balance of effort between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof

Ireland is currently in the process of opting in under Article 4 of the fourth Protocol

Yes

Council Directive on the conditions for entry and residence for the purposes of study, vocational training or voluntary service

No

No

EU Readmission agreements

Yes (only the Hong Kong readmission agreement has been finalised)

Yes (Hong Kong)