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A third less asylum applications processed in 2020 than previous year due to covid

Just under 2,300 asylum applications were processed in 2020 – a third less than the previous year.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne, explained how a total of 2,276 applications were successfully processed last year.

“Despite these challenges, 2,276 applications for international protection were processed to completion last year, which is just under 67% of the total achieved in 2019,” said Browne, as reported by the Irish Examiner.

According to Browne, interviews with applicants are now being conducted via video chat in Dublin and Cork, and this will soon be carried out in other parts of the country as well.

Reportedly, it can take as long as a year before an asylum seeker can receive an interview, during which time they remain in direct provision.

The government has committed to ending direct provision, as well as reducing the processing times of applications and appeals to 6 months.

“We must move to a point where direct provision ends in 2024, as the Government has committed to, and housing asylum seekers within the country so they can become active citizens of Ireland,” said Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe.

The new proposed international protection system, the government say, will be able to accommodate as many as 3,500 additional asylum seekers annually.

A backlog in applications was one of the issues highlighted by a government-appointed advisory group, led by former secretary general of the European Commission Catherine Day, in its report last year.

In the wake of the Day report, which found that one in four asylum seekers were in the direct provision system for three years or more, the Government has committed to ending the system by 2024 and also reducing application processing times.

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