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Government 'concerned' about jump in number of visa applications from the UK

Last year, 10,000 visa applications were made, in comparison to just 1,800 in 2014.

Minister for Justice and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
Minister for Justice and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
Image: Niall Carson

THERE HAS BEEN a rise in the number of applications from non-EU nationals for Irish visas.

The Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald briefed her Cabinet colleagues on the matter yesterday, stating that she was highly concerned with the “significant increase”.

It is understood Ireland received 10,000 applications last year from people wanting to become EU citizens, and 5,000 in the first half of this year. This is in comparison to just 1,800 applications being made in 2014.

The rising trend is understood to be linked to the UK Brexit vote.

Brexit vote 

It’s believed the government had expected a rise over the last two years due to the anticipated EU referendum in the UK, which resulted in a Leave vote this year.

The applications are submitted by “qualifying family members” who wish to travel to Ireland under the terms of a European directive allowing EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within a member state.

It’s likely some of the “qualifying family members” applying to Ireland have relatives currently living in the UK while some other applicants have UK citizenship.
The Tánaiste previously spoke in the Dáil about her concerns of the possible abuse of the visa system.
I am further advised that there has been an exponential increase in such applications since the second quarter of 2015.
I can say that there are increasing concerns around potential abuse of the EU Directive in relation to such cases and the State has an obligation to take into account the overall integrity of its immigration system in dealing with applications.

EU referendum James Brokenshire Source: David Young

Last month, the Tánaiste raised the rising trend of visa applications with the UK Home Office and the former UK immigration minister, James Brokenshire. He is now the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. 

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