In 2021, Ireland received 38 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), -10% compared to 2020. This figure comprises 54.8% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 33.8% labour migrants, 6.9% family members (including accompanying family) and 4.5% humanitarian migrants. Around 11 000 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students. In addition, 6 100 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a -25% decrease compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 420%, to reach around 14 000. The majority of applicants came from Georgia (2 700), Algeria (1 800) and Somalia (1 600). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Georgia (+2 400). Of the 4 470 decisions taken in 2022, 80% were positive.

Emigration of Irish citizens to OECD countries increased by 37% in 2021, to 19 000. Approximately 17% of this group migrated to Spain, 14% to Canada and 12% to the Netherlands.

A White Paper, published in February 2021, proposed wide-ranging reform of the International Protection System, including Direct Provision accommodation. It envisaged a phased implementation of the new system between 2021 and 2024, but the process has been delayed by the influx of Ukrainians seeking temporary protection as well as a significant increase in international protection applications. This has resulted in unprecedented pressure on the Irish reception system. A review of the implementation timeline is underway. Progress made to date includes a new International Protection Integration Fund, which was established in 2022. This fund is aimed at enabling community-based organisations across Ireland to play a greater role in supporting the integration of applicants for international protection. Organisations may receive funding of between EUR 5 000 and EUR 20 000 to support integration initiatives. In 2023, EUR 1 200 000 will be made available through the fund.

In February 2022, the government lifted the visa requirement for Ukrainian nationals. Following an EU Council decision in March 2022, Ireland began providing Temporary Protection to those fleeing the war in Ukraine in conjunction with other Member States. The Irish Government implemented several additional measures to accommodate arrivals from Ukraine, including a temporary reception centre at Dublin airport, emergency accommodation in conference centres and serviced accommodation, as well as providing subsidies to households hosting refugees. A tax-free payment of EUR 400 per month to people hosting Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection was announced in May 2022, which was later increased to EUR 800 per month in December 2022. Arrivals from Ukraine are brought to Citywest Convention Centre where, if eligible, they are issued a Temporary Protection Certificate and their immigration permission in Ireland is simultaneously registered. They also obtain a Public Services Number from Department of Social Protection officials on-site, and can obtain information and assistance from healthcare professionals.

In December 2021, following the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, the Irish Government introduced the Afghan Admission Programme, which offered temporary Irish residence to people whose freedom or safety was at risk, who had fled from Afghanistan after 1 August 2021 and who had close family members in Ireland. The programme closed in March 2022 with 528 applications received.

With effect from 1 January 2023, several changes have been implemented to the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS). The scheme was developed to facilitate specialised, highly skilled, short-term employment (generally less than 90 days) of non-EEA nationals not currently supported by Employment Permit legislation. First, the minimum salary has been revised from the current National Minimum Wage to be aligned with the current salary requirement for a General Employment Permit. Second, the 90-day work permit can now be spread over a six-months period, and can support intermittent travel in and out of Ireland during that period. Previously, the 90 days of work had to be completed in one block. Thirdly, the waiting time to be offered a second permission under the AWS has been reduced to one month. Previously, only one AWS could be granted in any 12-month period.

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