Justice | To ask the Minister for Justice the extent to which backlogs in respect of applications for asylum have been overhauled in her Department
To ask the Minister for Justice the extent to which backlogs in respect of applications for asylum have been overhauled in her Department; 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.
I can assure the Deputy that my Department continues to work to improve the international protection process and to reduce processing times, in line with the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Group, led by Dr. Catherine Day, and the commitments in the Government’s White Paper. However, the substantially higher number of applications currently being received will present a significant challenge in achieving this. There has been a 600% increase in the number of international protection applications made to the International Protection Office of my Department year-on-year, with 3,354 applications made to the end of April 2022.
An end-to-end review of relevant international protection processes by a multi-disciplinary team from my Department has been completed and published. New measures and procedures will continue to be put in place to improve efficiencies across all aspects of the protection process. My Department will, by October 2022 at the latest, commence a review of progress made in reducing and improving processing times.
I have also introduced a separate strand under the Regularisation Scheme for international protection applicants who have been in the asylum process for a minimum of two years, implementing a key recommendation of the Expert Advisory Group. My Department has written to approximately 4,000 potentially eligible applicants inviting them to apply under the Scheme and I would encourage anyone who may be eligible to consider applying.
Approximately, 1,700 applications have been received to date with over 400 of those applicants having already received an immigration permission. This strand of the scheme is open for applications until 7 August 2022.
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