• Subscribe to our newsletter

    Email address

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Newswatch Categories

  • « | Main | »

    New immigrants have better emigration options, claims “Economist” mag

    By Noreen Bowden | December 1, 2008

    Irish unemployment could be reduced by a percentage point with the emigration of 20,000 workers, says a report in the Economist. The report speculates that emigration is most likely to affect the 15% of the population that is non-national – mainly due to enhanced opportunities in the home countries of eastern Europeans, and declining economies in traditional Irish emigrant strongholds.

    In truth, with the economic crisis hurting such traditional boltholes as Britain, America and Australia, as well as newer hotspots like Dubai, the options for laid-off Dublin lawyers or builders from Cork are limited. For now, though, things look brighter for those from Eastern Europe. Polish banks may be shedding staff, but this is a good time to be a Polish engineer or builder of big infrastructure. A torrent of EU regional aid is about to hit the ex-communist countries: across eastern and central Europe there are plans for new airports, fast trains and motorways. Poland has stadiums to build for the European football championship in 2012. The Polish and Lithuanian governments are actively trawling for workers in Ireland.

    Think-tanks like the ESRI now forecast a net outflow of migration from Ireland of some 30,000 over the year to next April. Harder numbers are difficult to come by: Ireland is not a police state, and seasonal workers are tricky to monitor. Some emigrants will be Irish, or non-EU nationals. But the political significance is clear: if 20,000 workers from eastern Europe left Ireland, that would reduce unemployment by about a percentage point. Departing Poles would take their spending power with them, admittedly. But on balance, if they leave, it will be another reward for open labour markets. For the first time, a jump in Irish unemployment may be offset by non-nationals leaving the country.

    In the most optimistic scenario, skilled Poles, Balts and others will head home to wait out the storm, finding secure (if lower-paid) jobs there, but then return when Ireland picks up again. This would be a big step forward for Europe as well. For such dynamic and flexible migration has been an economic grail in the EU for years, as politicians looked enviously at Americans’ willingness to move from one state to another in search of work. (In contrast, EU countries that impose curbs on foreigners give migrant workers already in them a reason to stay during downturns, for fear that it will be hard to return.)

    Read the entire article at the Economist website..

    Topics: Latest News | Comments Off on New immigrants have better emigration options, claims “Economist” mag

    Comments are closed.