ESRI and Integration Centre report highlights racial discrimination in the job market

Tue, May 31, 2011

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said that one of the greatest challenges to Ireland in responding properly to increasing diversity has been a lack of information about how migrants to this country fare. Mr. Gilmore welcomed the information now available to policy makers in the form of the “Annual Monitoring Report on Integration 2010”, when he launched it on the 4th of May last. The report was prepared by the Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) for the Integration Centre.

The newly appointed CEO of the Integration Centre, Mr. Killian Forde, said that “this report shows that whilst immigrants are better qualified than Irish Nationals, their unemployment rate is considerably higher.” He went on to say that a “strategic focus is needed in addressing unemployment and under-employment among the immigrant population.”

Dr. Frances McGinnity of the ESRI, who wrote the report, commented that “the degree of discretion involved in decisions on access to citizenship, together with long processing times, have a detrimental effect on the integration of non-EEA nationals in Ireland. The absence of a comprehensive and transparent long-term residency system causes insecurity and confusion among immigrants in Ireland.” The report estimates that only 13% of non-EEA nationals living in Ireland have acquired citizenship.

The ESRI has conducted studies in the past, the results of which correspond with the results of the 2010 Cork City Integration Study, insofar as the highest reported discrimination in each case was in recruitment and, of those who had been seeking work, the discrimination rate was much higher for non-Irish nationals. Ms. McGinnity went on to state that “cuts in recent years to a number of organisations charged with combating discrimination are likely to have negative consequences for integration.”