965 Albanians applied for asylum in Ireland in 2019, ranking first on the list of countries with the most asylum seekers in the country.
Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan told The Irish Times in January 2020 that the number of Albanian illegal immigrants has been high and continues to rise.
In 2014, 99 asylum applications were registered; in 2015 214 applications were registered; in 2016, 222 applications were registered; in 2017, 282 applications were registered – more than any other country except Syria.
Irish authorities explained that Albanians enter Ireland with fake travel documents and then seek asylum.
Ireland has launched an investigation into an Albanian international criminal gang believed to be involved in drug and human trafficking. One of the group’s top leaders was arrested by Irish police during the last months of 2019 and an important investigation is ongoing.
They say that discouraging policies undertaken by Albania, increased controls by airlines and border police have had their first effects by reducing the number of asylum applications in October 2019, yet the number for the year as a whole remains at an all-time high.
Albania is considered as a safe country of origin and therefore asylum applicants must prove they face imprisonment, risk of torture, injury, or death if they were to return to the country.