Asylum figures fall to 15-year low
The number of asylum seekers wanting refugee status has fallen to a 15-year low.
New figures showed 1,939 applications were received in 2010, including 37 from minors who arrived on their own.
The tenth annual report of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) revealed the 27.9% drop brought numbers seeking to stay in Ireland back to levels last seen since 1996.
A fifth were from Nigeria, 11.8% from China, a tenth from Pakistan, people from the Democratic Republic of Congo accounted for 3.7% of applications, and Afghanistan was 3.6%.
There were 2,689 applications for asylum in 2009, compared to a record 11,634 in 2002.
The ORAC considers applications for refugee status before making a recommendation to the justice minister. It is also responsible for the investigation of reports on successful applicants who want a family member to enter or live in the State.
A total of 323 applications were for family reunification, with 130 received from people in detention.
There were 112 legal challenges against a decision - including 24 cases in relation to the Dublin II Regulation which determines if another EU member state is responsible for processing an asylum application.
Some 1,515 sets of fingerprints of asylum applicants were taken, with 208 hits on an EU database that confirmed a person had made an asylum application in another country before arriving in Ireland.
Elsewhere, 525 asylum applications were withdrawn from the process for various reasons, including applicants failing to co-operate or attend for interview.