The Department of Justice and Equality has published its annual immigration review, highlighting key statistics and projects from 2017 and previewing its plans for the coming year.

The strong Irish economy and access to the European Union has made Ireland a desirable location to work, study and settle. The number of non-EU expatriates residing in Ireland rose 11 percent, from 115,000 in 2016 to 128,000 in 2017. The top five countries of origin are Brazil (14.6 percent), India (13.5 percent), China (9 percent), the U.S. (7.4 percent) and Pakistan (5.7 percent).

The report reviews some of the changes in 2017, including the rollout of the new Irish Residence Permit cards, installation of automated eGates at Dublin Airport to speed immigration checks for Irish passport holders, and working with the European Union and the United Kingdom to maintain the Common Travel Area in Brexit negotiations, among others.

Key programs planned for 2018:

  • The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service will consider whether to permit holders of the Irish Passport Card and non-EU passports to use the eGates. This would benefit regular visitors and business travelers to enter Ireland more quickly. If introduced, it will be managed through a registered trusted traveler program.
  • Ireland will continue to cooperate with the U.K. on issues associated with Brexit and protecting the Common Travel Area arrangements after the U.K. leaves the EU, and advocate for the free movement of people who are entitled to such rights, as well as enhancing controls to ensure that the Common Travel Area is not abused. Both the U.K. and Irish governments have publicly declared their commitment to making sure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland.
  • The Immigrant Investor Program that grants residence permits to non-EEA nationals at least €1 million in an Irish venture will be administered by INIS and the Interdepartmental Steering Committee, which approves applications under the program.

BAL Analysis: The planned projects are welcome developments. The proposed expansion of eGates is good news for regular corporate travelers to Ireland and, in combination with the 14-day work exemption, will ease business travel and short-term micro assignments.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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