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New figures on foreign nationals 'debunk migrant welfare myth'

The CSO report said that the decline in employment activity for foreign nationals has not resulted in a corresponding increase in social welfare activity.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

NEW FIGURES RELEASED by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today show a decrease in the number of foreign nationals who were assigned PPS numbers in 2011.

In 2006, some 203, 943 foreign nationals were allocated PPS numbers compared to just 58,300 in 2011. The figures show that 37 per cent of foreign nationals with new PPS numbers had employment activity in that year.

The CSO report said that the decline in employment activity for foreign nationals between 2006 and 2011 has not resulted in a corresponding increase in social welfare activity. For those allocated a PPS number in 2006, employment activity dropped from 71,900 in 2009 to 55,700 in 2011, while their social welfare activity rose from 55,800 to 56,200 over the same period.

The Integration Centre said today that the report “debunks migrant welfare myths” as it shows that there was only a 9 per cent increase in social welfare uptake by migrants in 2011.

CEO, Killian Forde said there are a number of reasons that migrants who come to Ireland and do not find work do not end up drawing social welfare.

One of them is that a driving force behind migration is the seeking of a better life. Migrants are often highly educated and ambitious. Social Welfare would not satisfy their ultimate goal. Another is due to the habitual residence condition brought in 2004, which means that migrants have to prove their connection to the state before they are allowed on welfare.

He said the report shows that there is a considerable turnover in the migrant population with those who were unsuccessful at finding work or employed for just a short period choosing to leave.

“There is a decrease in the number of migrants coming into Ireland – the PPSN allocation in 2006 were over 200,000 and in 2011 the figure is a quarter of that, however 310,000 migrants still recorded employment activity in 2011,” he said. “These people have made Ireland their home and need to be catered for through integration policy.”

Read: Over 26 million people unemployed across the EU>
More: Number of people at work rises for first time in over four years>

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