Applications for asylum fall 11,000 since 2002 peak
Asylum applications here have plummeted from a peak of 11,600 10 years ago to 950.
Provisional figures for 2012 also show that the number of people seeking international protection, who were accommodated in direct provision centres in the State, has also dropped by 650 to 4,750, compared with 2011.
Nigeria accounted for more than a third of asylum seekers in 2002 and continued to top the table of nationalities last year, although its percentage dropped to 17pc.
The make-up of the top five countries has altered radically in the other placings. Ten years ago Romania was in second place with 14pc, Moldova third with 4.6pc, followed by Zimbabwe 3.1pc and Ukraine 3pc.
During the past year Pakistan accounted for 11.8pc with Democratic Republic of Congo third on 5.8pc, Zimbabwe fourth on 5.5pc and Albania on 4.2pc.
The statistics also showed that 298 failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants were deported from the State last year, mainly from Nigeria, Pakistan, Georgia, Tanzania and South Africa.
The Tanzanians claimed asylum as Somalians but they were properly identified as a result of co-operation between the garda national immigration bureau and the UK authorities.
A total of 111 people were deported on charter flights and 187 on scheduled commercial flights.
A further 68 asylum seekers were transferred to the EU member states, where they had first applied for refugee status, under a regulation known as the Dublin Convention while another 55 EU nationals were returned to their countries of origin as a result of a removal order.
Faced with a possible deportation order, a total of 467 persons opted to return home voluntarily in 2012. These were mainly from Brazil, Moldova, China, Mauritius and Georgia.
Since last June, the fingerprints of almost 3,000 Irish visa applicants have been cross- checked against the UK's immigration fingerprint database and this revealed numerous cases of identity swapping as well as uncovering applicants who had already breached the regulations in the UK.
In a separate data-sharing exercise, the fingerprints of 1,750 failed asylum seekers were checked against UK immigration records and almost 30pc of them were found to be registered in the UK under a different identity.