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Friday 2 December 2016

Young Pakistani men flee UK and flood into Ireland

Published 24/05/2015 | 02:30

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has directed her officials to take all necessary action to combat what officials describe as flagrant abuse of the common travel area between the UK and Ireland
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has directed her officials to take all necessary action to combat what officials describe as flagrant abuse of the common travel area between the UK and Ireland

A ten-fold surge in asylum applications from Pakistani nationals, mainly single males, has led to urgent talks between the immigration authorities here and the UK Home Office.

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A significant number of them are coming here from the UK, where they already have immigration records.

Unpublished figures show that more than 550 applications were received from Pakistanis in the six-month period between last November and last month. This compares with 55 for the corresponding period in 2013 and 2014. As a result, Pakistanis account for over half of all asylum applications received in the past six months.

Under the so-called Dublin Regulation, which determines the EU State responsible for processing an asylum application, this means they are likely to be sent back to the UK.

But immigration officials say that many arriving here from the UK are attempting to "put down some sort of roots" here so that if they return to the UK they might be sent back to this country rather than deported to Pakistan.

Officials said there was high level concern at the influx from the UK of non-genuine Pakistani asylum seekers and confirmed that these cases were being fast-tracked through the system.

Senior Garda officers from the national bureau of immigration are assisting officials in stepping up preparations to deport the bogus applicants.

Immigration officials believe that the increase is largely being driven by a clampdown by UK authorities on "overstayers", those who want to avoid being deported from the UK.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has directed her officials to take all necessary action, including enhanced co-operation with the UK authorities, to combat what officials describe as flagrant abuse of the common travel area between the two jurisdictions.

Officials are also worried that abuses of the system impacts directly on genuine asylum applicants, in terms of accommodation spaces provided and length of time to process their cases.

As part of the measures to reduce immigration abuses, the immigration service placed a requirement on applicants for Irish visas in Pakistan late last year to provide their fingerprints.

The collection of visa biometrics is becoming an increasingly integral part of visa application processes worldwide as a means to combat immigration abuses such as false identities.

Suspected bogus applicants are currently being interviewed by staff from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and can appeal against a decision to return them to the UK.

The number of overall asylum seekers wanting to live here has more than doubled in the first quarter of the year. And, if the current trend continues, the total for 2015 is expected to be more than 2,500 applications.

Sunday Independent

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