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Key Developments in Housing and Immigration in Ireland: April Recap

A recent survey conducted by the Irish Times found that from December 2023 to March 2023, the public's attention was primarily focused on two key issues: housing and immigration. These topics emerged as the most significant concerns for people during this period, reflecting the pressing nature of housing shortages and immigration policies in Ireland. The survey highlights the importance of these issues in the public discourse and underscores the need for effective strategies to address them.


Since Simon Harris became the new Taoiseach on April 9, 2024, there have been some changes in housing and immigration. In this blog, Future Direct will discuss what's new and what might happen next.


Housing Issues have been a huge challenge in Ireland. Politicians believe it is mainly due to a supply shortage
Housing Issues have been a huge challenge in Ireland. Politicians believe it is mainly due to a supply shortage

Housing issues


Ireland has faced a housing shortage for international immigrants, leading to a significant increase in rental accommodations in recent months. In a speech in early April, the Taoiseach aimed to solve this housing problem permanently.


According to the progress report for the "Housing for All" plan in the first quarter of 2024, construction has begun on 12,000 building projects. This marks a 63% increase in approved new home projects compared to the same period in 2023. Additionally, the government's implementation of a waiver and rebate scheme in the development levy is expected to further boost the supply of new homes in the upcoming quarter.


Further, the government announced additional funds to solve housing challenges.


  1. The allocation of €100 million in funding will provide more beds and accommodation to more than 1,000 students at UCD, DCU, and Maynooth University.

  2. Provided that around 30,500 first-time buyer mortgages were approved in 2023. An additional  €40 million in funding has been allocated to promote affordable home ownership for first-time home buyers.

  3. The department is also actively working with TCD, the University of Limerick and the University of Galway to deliver 800+ student accommodations.


The government is confident that increasing the housing supply in Ireland is the key solution to the housing crisis and remains optimistic about progress. However, there are still important questions that need to be addressed.


  1. Does the state have sufficient human power, like construction workers, to keep up the momentum?

  2. If Ireland were to attract more construction workers into the state, what would be the changes in the employment permit application process or the permit regulations and conditions?


Asylum seekers reach a new high in 2024. Are there any potential actions to be taken?
Asylum seekers reach a new high in 2024. Are there any potential actions to be taken?

Immigration


Immigration issues are mainly centred around the number of asylum seekers entering Ireland in recent months. In 2023, there were 12,300 asylum seekers, followed by 12,600 in 2022. However, the government is particularly concerned about the sharp increase in asylum seekers during the first three months of 2024, with 5,100 arrivals—a 75% rise compared to the same period in 2023. If this trend continues, it will likely surpass the numbers in 2023 and 2022.


The government has expressed that it is impossible to accommodate the current numbers if it continues. The minister of justice, Helen McEntee, had made a few announcements regarding such issues.


  1. On 6 April 2024, she announced that eight more countries may be added to the safe country list to reduce the number of asylum seekers and provide the correct protection to those needing international protection.

  2. The cabinet has been actively in discussion to tighten up the immigration borders, which involved tighter control in airports in approving individuals coming into the country as an asylum seeker.

  3. The government will have a fast-track process for applicants coming from safe countries of origin, which may lead to a significant application refusal, which is applications from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

  4. The government planned to accelerate the process of the highest number of applications in the previous three months if it is not a safe country, such as an application from Nigeria.

  5. One major decision to be further discussed is to tighten the visa requirements for people from South Africa.


Immigration borders may be becoming stricter, posing an unforeseeable risk for individuals intending to immigrate to Ireland beyond asylum seekers. While the Department of Justice has yet to announce any imminent measures or changes if a decision regarding South Africa is made, citizens from the country may need to familiarise themselves with the visa application process for entry into Ireland.


In conclusion, the Irish government is gradually implementing and enforcing new policies, rules, and regulations related to housing and immigration matters. Future Direct is a leading immigration consultancy firm in Ireland that provides services to individuals and corporations. If you have concerns about your immigration status or employment permits and want to stay updated with the latest immigration news, please follow us on Instagram or LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can contact us at +353 872400433 or email info@futuredirect.ie. We're here to help answer your questions.

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