Immigrants flooding into Ireland despite bad economic times there

Immigrants take part in the Irish naturalisation ceremony

Though Ireland’s economy remains in poor shape, there is no shortage of foreigners from around the world seeking legal residency and citizenship there, new Irish government figures show.

The reports that there was a six percent rise in the number of foreigners applying for visas last year compared to 2011. Out of the roughly 88,000 visa applications received, 91 percent were approved, with the biggest number going to natives of India (16 percent), followed by Russia, China, Nigeria, and Turkey.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s office revealed that the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service received some 165,700 applications for a number of services, including visas, residency, protection and naturalization.

The figures show that nearly 115,000 non-European nationals received permission to remain in Ireland. Again, natives of India represent the highest number at 11 percent of this total, followed by Brazil, Nigeria, China, the U.S. and the Philippines.

More than 25,000 citizenship cases were decided last year. Also, more than 31,000 non-European foreign students are registered for study in Ireland.

Asylum applications have fallen drastically from a peak of 11,600 in 2002. Last year there were only 950 requests for asylum. Almost 2,700 people were deported from Ireland last year.

“Reform of the immigration system will be sustained in 2013 and I will be focusing on major legislative and procedural measures such as the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill and further civilianization of Immigration Officer functions at Dublin Airport,” Shatter said in a statement.