A total of 82,773 foreign nationals over the age of 15 received PPS numbers in Ireland last year, and just over half of these people were engaged in employment.
A Central Statistics Office report looked at the employment and social welfare activity of foreigners in Ireland as well as their PPS number allocations.
“Of the 82,773 foreign nationals aged 15 years and over who were allocated new PPSNs in 2015, 41,853 had employment activity during the year,” the report said.
Overall, there were 94,707 PPS numbers allocated to foreign nationals across all age groups last year.
This represented the first decrease in the number of allocations following increases in all years since 2011.
Of the 40,920 foreign nationals over the age of 15 who received PPS numbers last year and were not engaged in employment
, 24,061 of the people concerned were aged between 15 and 24, and 3,061 were age over 65. Therefore, they could have been in education or in retirement, and not necessarily claiming social welfare.
The CSO figures did, however, show social welfare activity in the report.
There was a small rise in the number of foreign nationals (over 15 with PSS numbers) engaged in social welfare activity.
The CSO figure for this relates specifically to the people who had been allocated a PPS number since 2010 and what their situation was in 2015.
“In 2015, 10,075 [17%] of the 59,131 PPSN allocations from 2010 recorded social welfare activity,” reads the CSO report.
Social welfare activity does not necessarily indicate unemployment as it refers to one-off claims, such as dental and optical benefits, and ongoing claims, such as jobseeker’s benefit or jobseeker’s allowance, pensions, and illness payments.
The CSO said there could be multiple reasons for the increase of foreign nationals engaged in social welfare activity.
“It should be noted that there are several possible reasons for increases in social welfare activity by allocation year over time; the birth of a child leading to a child benefit claim, jobseekers claims, and the fact that some benefits depend on habitual residence requirements or on having sufficient social insurance benefits,” reads the report.
On a positive note, a total of 374,466 foreigners who were assigned PPS numbers during the period from 2002 to 2015 recorded some employment last year.
The CSO figures released yesterday also give a breakdown of what sectors foreign nationals with PPS numbers work in.
A total of 59,880 worked in the accommodation and food services sector last year.
Following that, there were 56,887 working in wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.
In terms of nationalities, citizens from the UK received the highest number of PPS number allocations in 2015, with 16,125 numbers being allocated to them last year.
The majority of recipients were aged between 25 and 64.
This marked a significant increase because from 2010 to 2014, the average number of allocations to UK citizens stood at approximately 13,000.
Romanians made up the next largest group, with 8,635 receiving PPS numbers in 2015.
This was a decrease from 2014 figures of 9,076.
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