Helen McEntee plans to accelerate the detection of asylum seekers from unsafe countries

Justice Minister Helen McEntee wants to apply an accelerated system to countries with the largest number of arrivals

Almost two years ago, an accelerated processing system was introduced for people seeking international protection from so-called safe countries. The system, introduced by Justice Minister Helen McEntee, ensures that asylum seekers from these countries receive a decision on their case within three months.

Ms McEntee will present a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining a plan to extend the fast-track process to migrants arriving from unsafe countries.

The minister wants to apply the accelerated system to countries where the largest number of people seeking international protection come from.

Those with a genuine case will receive protection within three months

Current data shows that a significant number of people from Nigeria have sought international protection in Ireland since the beginning of the year. A third of all applicants since the start of the year have said they are seeking asylum after fleeing the country. A total of 2,053 Nigerians have applied for asylum in Ireland this year.

Due to the large number arriving from the country, the Ministry of Justice will begin processing Nigerian applicants through the fast-track system.

This means that those with a genuine case will receive protection within three months, while those deemed to have no genuine need for asylum will receive deportation orders. Those who receive deportation orders can appeal, but 80% of asylum decisions are upheld.

There are concerns among the government about the increasing number of Nigerians seeking protection. Government officials believe significant numbers of Nigerian migrants are coming to Ireland from Britain as a result of post-Brexit measures against illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, the share of applications from safe countries has fallen significantly over the past year since the introduction of accelerated processing of applicants from such countries.

The list will be revised every three months on a rolling basis

Expedited processing is currently applied to migrants arriving from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

The number of people seeking protection from Albania, Algeria and Georgia fell dramatically after the fast-track process was introduced.

Ms McEntee will use the powers she has under the International Protection Act to extend the same system to safe countries with the highest number of arrivals and this list will be reviewed every three months on a rolling basis.

A government source said: “When assessing applications, the Minister ensures that the rights of applicants are protected, that the requirements of the International Protection Act are complied with, including that all applications are processed efficiently.”