NESF warns about pitfalls of migrant labour reliance

A leading government think-tank has warned about the dangers of relying on immigrant labour to maintain economic growth.

The Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition has been insisting for the past few years that Ireland needs a steady influx of migrants to keep the economy growing.

However, in a report published today, the National Economic and Social Forum warns that this could lead to a growing anti-immigrant sentiment among low-skilled workers, as well increased costs for housing, education and integration programmes.

The body says Ireland has a much higher proportion of low-skilled employees compared to its European competitors and the Government should focus on retraining these workers rather than attracting migrants.

Today's report estimates that Ireland currently has an under-utilised labour force of around 175,000 people, including 96,500 officially unemployed and a further 78,500 looking for work.

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