The Impact of Immigration
Migration has been important for Ireland since the nineteenth century. for most of that time, migratory flows have been outward but occasional bouts of return migration have also occurred. It is only since the exceptional economic growth of the past decade that we have seen large and sustained inflows and that non-Irish immigrants have come to outnumber returning Irish migrants. Our purpose in this chapter is to assess the significance of this new era of inward migration. People are now clamouring to get into Ireland rather than rushing to leave it and that in itself is a powerful indicator of how much more attractive a society Ireland now is compared to the past. However, if we look deeper, a number of questions arise about what new migration patterns mean and what their impact will be. These questions concern the economic and social impact of immigration as well as the challenge of integrating the new Irish.
The chapter begins with a review of recent trends in migration, and tracks the change from a pattern of emigration to one of immigration. A notable feature of present immigration is that it comes primarily from within the EU and so is less racially, culturally and religiously heterogeneous than that experienced by other immigrant societies. We then turn to the economic impact of immigration on the economy, focusing in particular on the labour market. This is followed by a discussion of the social impact of immigration, focusing on public services as well as the attitudes of the indigenous population towards immigrants. We then examine new survey data on immigrants’ experiences of racism and discrimination in Ireland. The conclusion discusses the need for a coherent policy for integration of migrants into Irish society as an essential requirement for the successful management of immigration.
KeywordsMigrant Worker Asylum Seeker Integration Policy Migration Policy Irish Society
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