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Immigrants bear brunt of recession job losses, study shows

The unemployment rate among non-Irish nationals is now significantly higher than for those born here.

People queuing at a social welfare office in Dublin
People queuing at a social welfare office in Dublin
Image: Photocall Ireland

IMMIGRANTS WORKING IN Ireland have been hit significantly harder than Irish nationals by job losses since the beginning of the recession, according to a new study.

Total employment among immigrants has fallen by 40 per cent, against a figure of 10 per cent for Irish people, data in the report from the Integration Centre reveals.

Currently, the unemployment rate among non-Irish nationals is 18.2 per cent. Among Irish nationals it is just under 14 per cent.

However, the two groups have almost exactly the same employment rate at 59 per cent, suggesting that proportionally more non-Irish nationals of working age are part of the labour force.

The report found that 45 per cent of non-Irish nationals hold a third-level qualification, against 32 per cent of Irish people. However, among 25-to-34 year olds the figure is almost the same, at just under 50 per cent for both groups.

Around 16 per cent of non-EEA immigrants aged 16 or over have acquired Irish citizenship. Citizenship applications doubled in 2011, with 16,000 processed against roughly 8,000 in 2010.

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The report found that participation in sport was significantly lower among immigrant communities. Sport participation was measured as it is considered one of the benchmarks of social integration.

In a statement opening the report, Integration Centre CEO Killian Forde called on the Government to introduce new measures to aid social integration.

Integration is a process. Contrary to popular belief it does not happen organically with the passing of time. Structures need to be put in place by government which ensure the social cohesion and future success of Irish society.

Read: Killian Forde writes for TheJournal.ie – ‘Ireland is sleepwalking itself into a colossal mess over integration’>

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Michael Freeman

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