Belfast Telegraph

Republic denied entry to over 5,000 people in 2018, new report says

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

By Aine McMahon

More than 5,000 people were refused entry at Irish ports, airports and the Northern Ireland border last year, according to figures released by the Republic's Department of Justice yesterday.

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan published Immigration in Ireland: Annual Review 2018, providing the key statistics on all aspects of immigration in the Republic.

It reported that 95% of those who were refused at the point of entry were returned to their point of origin.

The Immigration Act 2004 sets out 11 grounds on which a person can be refused permission to enter the state, including if an immigration officer believes they intend to work in the Republic but do not have an employment permit.

They can also be refused if they do not have a passport or have a previous conviction for a serious offence.

Meanwhile, the number of people from EU and non-EU countries legally living in the Republic increased last year.

Some 140,533 visa applications were made in 2018 - a 12% annual increase - with 121,220 of them granted.

Mr Flanagan said: "We continue to see strong growth in the number of people who want to visit our beautiful and welcoming country.

"Coming from a variety of countries across the world, they are contributing to the diversity of our nation and to our economic, social and cultural development."

The number of non-European Economic Area nationals living in the Republic also increased last year by 11% to almost 143,000 people.

Outside Europe, people from India, China and Russia made the most requests for visas last year.

This was followed by people from Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Philippines, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

Most people with permission to remain in the state are working or studying, according to the Department of Justice.

Much of the increased demand is due to the Republic's strong economic performance and the introduction of new flight destinations to and from the country, the report noted.

In 2018 almost 7,000 new citizens received their certificates of naturalisation at ceremonies in Killarney and Dublin.

The top 10 nationalities of people naturalised in 2018 were: Polish, Romanian, British, Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani, Filipino, Latvian, Chinese and Brazilian.

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