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New measure to improve border control and combat illegal immigration

Minister Shatter signs new law requiring airlines to provide
Advance Passenger Information

‘New measure to improve border control and combat illegal immigration’

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., has
signed Regulations transposing into Irish law an EU Directive requiring air
carriers to provide advance passenger data to Irish Immigration authorities
for the purposes of improving border control and combating illegal

The Regulations will apply to all inbound flights to Ireland from outside
the EU and to all passengers on those flights. Implementation of the
Regulations will require airlines to:
· Provide data on passengers in advance of flights arriving in Ireland.
The information to be provided is contained on the machine readable
zone of passports.
· Transmit the data captured to the Irish Immigration authorities after
the completion of a flight’s check-in.

Providing the Immigration authorities with passenger information in advance
of a flight arriving in Ireland will facilitate checks against watchlists
to identify persons of interest before passengers arrive at border control.
This will be to the benefit of both the State and genuine passengers by:
· Assisting in the prevention of crime and immigration abuses;
· Facilitating the smooth passage of legitimate travellers; and
· Allowing for improved and more effective management of the State’s

Signing the Regulations, Minster Shatter noted that, “The collection and
analysis of passenger information provided for by these Regulations
signifies a significant development in the protection of our borders.
Illegal immigration is a flagrant abuse of our immigration system which
cannot be tolerated. This measure will greatly assist in identifying and
combating immigration abuses, as well as giving advance warning to border
control of other persons of interest who may have committed criminal,
revenue, social welfare or other such offences.”

The Minister further stated that, “The new law provides a key building
block for developing an integrated border system that uses technology to
identify and detect abuses at the border but also, and perhaps more
importantly, will allow the use of innovative technology to facilitate the
bona fide traveller and provide for a more strategic use of civilian and
Garda resources at airports”.

Implementation of the Regulations – next steps:
· The Department of Justice and Equality will be working closely with
other Departments and the relevant airlines to effectively implement
the Directive.
· In the initial stages a prototype system will be developed to test
and refine the system concept before building a system to receive and
process passenger data from airlines.
· The prototype will be introduced on a pilot phase before the end of

The European Communities (Communication of Passenger Data) Regulations 2011
transposed Council Directive 2004/82/EC of 29 April, 2004 on the obligation
of carriers to communicate passenger data into Irish law. The Directive was
adopted following a request by the European Council of 25 and 26 March
2004, which met following the terrorist attacks in Madrid.

Similar arrangements have existed for some time in other EU Member States.
For example, in the United Kingdom the e-borders system is perhaps the most
developed of any of the Member States. A recent statement from the UK
Borders Agency (UKBA) revealed that alerts from the system led to 2,800
arrests in 2010- 2011 after the details of 126 million passengers were
checked against watchlists of suspects wanted by UKBA, Police, the Serious
Organised Crime Agency and HM Revenue & Customs.

The purpose of the Directive is to improve border controls and to fight
irregular migration. It provides that upon the request of the authorities
carrying out border checks, air carriers must communicate the following
data in respect of a passenger:
· the number and type of the travel document used by him or her, as
provided to the carrier concerned,
· his or her nationality, as provided to the carrier concerned,
· his or her full names, as provided to the carrier concerned,
· his or her date of birth, as provided to the carrier concerned,
· the port at which the person is to arrive in the State,
· the code of transport used,
· the scheduled departure and arrival times of the aircraft concerned,
· the total number of passengers carried on that aircraft, and
· the initial point of embarkation.

The personal data are typically taken from the machine readable zone of the
passenger’s passport and forwarded to the authorities after the completion
of check in.

Border control authorities must delete the data within 24 hours of the
arrival of the flight unless the data is needed later for the purposes of
exercising the statutory functions of the authorities responsible for
carrying out checks on persons at external borders.

Member States may impose fines and other sanctions on carriers that fail to
comply with the obligation to transmit passenger data.

The Directive does not allow the exchange of passenger data between Member
States. However, law enforcement authorities other than border authorities
can request access to this information for law enforcement purposes.

The Regulations transposing the Directive include provisions setting out
that the Minister may require air carriers to collect data on passengers
for the purposes of establishing whether a passenger is a person of concern
which is defined in Regulation 1(a) as
“person of concern” means a person who—
(a) has committed, or is suspected of having committed—
(i) an offence under Immigration Acts ,
(ii) an offence in respect of which a European arrest warrant could
be issued in the State or a Member State under the European Arrest
Warrant Act 2003,
(iii) an offence under the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006 or
any other enactment relating to employment or economic activity in
the State,
(iv) a revenue offence, or
(v) an offence under the Social Welfare Acts,
(b) has engaged in or facilitated, or is suspected of having engaged
in or facilitated, illegal immigration, smuggling of persons or

(c) is a victim, or is suspected of being a victim, of any of the
activities referred to in paragraph (a) or (b)
(d) on the basis of information available to him or her, the Minister
is satisfied should be treated as a person of concern for any purpose
mentioned in Regulation 3(1)(a).

The Regulations provide for deletion of the passenger data within 24
hours or in the case of “a person of concern” up to 3 years or until he
or she is no longer considered “a person of concern” whichever is the
earlier. Persons who fail to comply with the requirements of the
Regulations face a Class A fine or imprisonment for up to 12 months on
summary conviction (or both) or for conviction on indictment to a fine
of €500,000 or up to 3 years imprisonment (or both).



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