Bid to speed up application process
THE Government hopes to slash the cost of housing asylum seekers by speeding up the application process.
Long delays associated with the current system have contributed to a €425m spend by the Reception and Integration Agency over the past five years.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are dependent on the State for food and shelter at 60 accommodation, self-catering and reception centres.
More than 6,000 people are housed in state-funded accommodation, waiting to learn if they can stay in the country.
According to the Department of Justice, it takes the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner up to nine weeks to process applications.
In instances involving applications for High Court judicial reviews, the process can drag on for several years.
However, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's new Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill aims to greatly shorten the time involved.
It provides for the establishment of a single application procedure for protection applicants where all elements of the application to remain in Ireland will be dealt with as one process.