Immigrants hardest hit by downturn

DESPITE being better qualified than Irish people, immigrants are far more likely to be unemployed or in lower paid jobs.

A new study by the Integration Centre and the ESRI, to be published today, discovered non-Irish nationals have been even harder hit by the current recession — suffering more job losses and a higher unemployment rate.

At the start of 2010, their unemployment rate was 16% compared with less than 13% for Irish people. More recent data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows the gap grew over 2010.

Interestingly, the study found that, comparing all adults, a higher proportion of non-Irish nationals have third-level qualifications than the Irish, although this gap is much smaller among young people (25-34 years).

Immigrants were also more likely to report working in jobs below their skill level. They are also less likely to be in a permanent position and to earn less than their Irish counterparts.

Discussing the areas of policy concern highlighted by the report, its author Dr Frances McGinnity of the ESRI said the lack of a long-term residency system here was a concern.

“The degree of discretion involved in decisions on access to citizenship, together with long processing times, have a detrimental effect on the integration of non-EEA immigrants in Ireland. The absence of a comprehensive and transparent long-term residency system causes insecurity and confusion among immigrants in Ireland,” she said.


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