Foreign Nationals Registering For PPS Numbers Down By Half Last Year

Foreign nationals registering for PPS numbers down by half last year

13,794 The number of Polish migrants who registered to work or access public services in the State during 2009, down from 42,553 in 2008

The Irish Times
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

THE NUMBER of foreign nationals who registered to work or access public services in the Republic halved last year, suggesting a major slowdown in immigration due to the recession.

The downward trend is most apparent for the 12 new EU member states with 29,421 citizens from these countries issued with PPS numbers, down from 66,942 a year earlier.

Some 13,794 Polish migrants registered to work or access public services in the State during 2009, significantly lower than the 42,553 who registered in 2008.

This trend was mirrored in all new EU member states except Latvia and Cyprus, which both experienced a slight increase in the number of their citizens registering for PPS numbers. Latvia experienced an even deeper recession than the Republic during 2009, which probably explains the slight rise in the number of its citizens registering here.

The total number of foreign nationals registering to work in the Republic fell 48.7 per cent in 2009 to 79,986. This compares to 156,151 registrations in 2008 for PPS numbers, which are allocated by the Department of Social and Family Affairs to enable people to work or access public services.

There has been a big drop in PPS numbers issued in 2009 due to the economic crisis but perhaps the bigger surprise is that some migrants are still coming here, said Piaras MacEnri, lecturer on migration at University College Cork.

One has to wonder if some of this has to do with the fact that parts of the labour economy offer such poor terms and conditions of employment and sometimes downright exploitation that they have, in effect, become areas into which few Irish workers would be attracted, he added.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the fall in PPS allocations was not surprising.

It is only to be expected that, while people will continue to come to Ireland, whether to join family members or for work, particularly in areas where specific skills are required, they will be coming in smaller numbers than we experienced during the boom, said Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council.

Polands ambassador to Ireland Tadeusz Szumowski said the sharp drop in the number of Polish migrants probably reflected a growing realisation that Ireland was no longer the country of milk and honey. He said conditions for newcomers were much more difficult than before but the embassy estimates there are still 200,000 Poles living in the Republic.