Asylum application predictions and migration patterns

The diaspora effect

Letter of the Day

Sir, – The Government has announced that its current prediction is that Ireland will receive 16,000 asylum applications annually over the coming years (“New asylum-seeker accommodation agency is under consideration”, News, April 4th). What this is based on is not clear. Just a few years ago, its prediction was for less than a quarter of this number.

Development economists, who study migration patterns, use a simple function to estimate whether migration is likely to increase, decrease or stay the same. All else remaining equal, in the presence of a significant income gap between country A and country B, migration will accelerate, until the income gap is significantly closed. The reason for this is the diaspora effect. When there is no diaspora of migrants from country B in country A, the costs of migration (finding a house, a job, etc) are significantly higher and often prohibitive to would-be migrants. As diasporas grow, these costs reduce, and this in turn encourages more migration.

Politicians who cite “global instability” as the reason for our current influx of asylum seekers should consider whether the world really is more unstable now, than during say, the 2015 Syrian civil war. That year, very few Syrians sought asylum in Ireland. The reason? The absence of any significant Syrian diaspora in Ireland at that time.

Any modelling for future asylum seeker numbers should therefore expect a steady increase year on year and plan accordingly. – Yours, etc,




Co Louth.