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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 22 December, 2014

‘No evidence’ that disproportionately high number of migrants receive social welfare

A new study has found that the number in receipt of these payments are just a little or below the number in the work force.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THERE IS NO evidence that a disproportionately high number of migrants are in receipt of social welfare payments, a new report has found.

Published by the ESRI, ‘Migrant Access to Social Security and Healthcare: Policies and Practice in Ireland’ studied how many migrants are in receipt of payments compared to their representation in the workforce.

Compared with a 15.4% share of the labour force, 14.7% of contributory Jobseekers Benefit receipts are non-Irish nationals.

Tipping slightly the opposite direction, these migrants make up 17.5% of the means-tested Jobseekers Allowance recipients.

“This report provides a new analysis which shows that, despite concerns expressed in several quarters, there is no consistent pattern of overrepresentation of migrants among social welfare recipients in Ireland,” report author Emma Quinn said.

However, she noted that interpreting the number who have access to payments can be difficult.

The report suggested that the low number (1.9%, compared to a 13.4% share of the population aged 15 and over) of non-nationals in receipt of the state pension but a high number (20.7%) in receipt of Child Benefit could be due to a young age profile of the population.

A number of issues regarding the Habitual Residence Condition, a test to see whether the applicant’s ‘centre of interest’ is in Ireland, are highlighted in the report.

“Implementation of the policy is challenging, in part because it is still evolving,” Quinn said.

Recent improvements in the availability of supporting guidelines and training must be built upon to help ensure that policy aims are consistently achieved.

The report also found “EU15-28 are over-represented among both Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseekers Benefit recipients (9.7% and 8.7% respectively), relative to their proportion in the labour force (7.0%)”.

“Non-EU nationals are under-represented among recipients of both Jobseeker payments (3.1% of Jobseekers Allowance and 1.6% of Jobseekers Benefit recipients), compared to 4.1% in the labour force.”

On a seasonally adjusted basis the number of people on the Live Register dropped by 4,400 in June to 386,200 – down from 36,200 the previous month.

This marks the 24th consecutive month of decreases and 36,544 less people signing on since June 2013, when the figure stood at 435,357.

In unadjusted terms terms there were 398,813 signing on.

Read: Here’s what the social welfare budget paid for last year >

More: Almost 3,000 extra young people were signing on last month >

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