‘Give exiles tax breaks’ says OECD

The Government should reorientate tax incentives away from attracting high-earning multinational executives to helping returning emigrants and migrants with their relocation expenses, the OECD recommends.

The think-tank devotes a chapter to analysing emigration and immigration in Ireland and presents recommendations for the country to attract skilled workers.

Migration flows will continue to play a significant role because so-called participation rates, including women, in the labour force remain at comparatively low levels.

It finds that one in five Irish emigrants is employed in health and social work in their new countries and are also highly represented in education.

That may suggest emigrants left because of poor career opportunities because of the spending cuts in government services during the crisis.

Incentives could be tailored to attract such emigrants to return home.

The report says only a small share of immigrants are unemployed and the long-term unemployment among immigrants is decreasing.

Rather than a brain drain, Ireland continued to experience a ‘brain exchange’ during the crisis as highly-skilled migrants came into the country.

Ireland needs to maintain its reputation as an attraction destination for skilled workers.

“Return migration could play a significant role in the recovery of Ireland’s recovery and in providing skills, relevant working experience and networks.

"Evidence suggests that return migrants bring back skills, networks and financial capital, and can thereby help spur innovation and growth,” the report says.

The OECD recommends the Government scraps the Special Assignee Relief Programme that gives tax rebates for multinational executives to match salaries they have been paid abroad.

It wants more emphasis on tax deductions to help workers with travelling expenses for workers relocating here. It also wants SMEs to tap the migrant skills-pool.


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