During 2012, almost 20,200 adults from outside
the European Economic Area (EEA) became Irish citizens. The number of non-EEA
adults who acquired citizenship through naturalisation almost doubled between
2010 and 2011 and more than doubled again between 2011 and 2012.
Between 2005 (when records began) and end-2012, almost 54,700 non-EEA adults
acquired Irish citizenship. Assuming these citizens haven't left Ireland, this
represents 31% of the estimated adult immigrant population of non-EEA origin
resident in Ireland at end-2012.
This data comes from a report 'Annual
Monitoring Report on Integration 2013' that was prepared by the ESRI
(Economic and Social Research Institute) and launched Monday morning by Frances
Fitzgerald, minister for justice and equality. The Monitor presents a range of
indicators to measure different aspects of immigrant inclusion in Irish society,
using the most recently available data.
The European Economic Area (EEA) unites the EU
Member States and the three EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)
into an Internal Market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to
enable goods, services, capital, and persons to move freely about the EEA in an
open and competitive environment, a concept referred to as the four freedoms.
The report says that at the start of 2013 the
unemployment rate was around 18% among non-Irish nationals, compared to just
over 13% for Irish nationals. Immigrants were hit harder during the economic
crisis and there is little evidence to suggest that they have benefited from the
first stirrings of recovery in the Irish labour market.
The youth unemployment rate (those aged 15-24 years) is very high in Ireland,
and in early 2013 it was higher for non-Irish nationals (33%) than for Irish
nationals (25%) in this age group. The unemployment rate for workers aged over
25 is also higher among non-Irish nationals than Irish nationals.
Data from the Programme International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012 show
that, in English reading, 15-year-old immigrants from non-English speaking
backgrounds had lower achievement scores, on average, than their Irish peers,
although the gap between the groups had narrowed since 2009.
There was no significant difference in PISA mathematics tests between immigrant
students and Irish students while income poverty rates, measured as the
percentage of a group falling below 60% of median equalised income, were similar
for Irish and non-Irish nationals in 2011. However basic deprivation (enforced
lack of 2 or more items relating to food, clothing, heating and family/social
life) was higher for non-Irish nationals, and was particularly high for Africans
(44% compared to 24% for Irish nationals).
The report also says that in spite of their generally higher level of education,
immigrant mothers of 3 year olds are, on average, less likely to be employed
than Irish mothers. Related to this, immigrant children are less likely to be in
non-parental childcare for eight hours or more per week.
The exception to this pattern is mothers from Western Europe. Their employment
rates are the same as those of Irish mothers (55%), the proportion of their
children in non-parental childcare is very similar.
Where immigrant children are in non-parental childcare, they are much more
likely to be in crèche-based care than in the care of a relative. The lack of an
extended family living in Ireland may make it more difficult for immigrant
mothers to combine work and caring.
Experience of financial strain, which increased with the economic crisis, tends
to be higher among immigrant families, particularly those of African origin, but
also those of EU Eastern European and Asian origin.
There are small differences in terms of overall health and diet between Irish
and immigrant children. In fact, immigrant 3 year olds, whose mothers are from
Western Europe or EU Eastern Europe, have somewhat healthier diets than Irish 3
Dr Frances McGinnity the author of the report
said: “The past three years has seen significant improvements in the processing
of citizenship applications, and the immigrant population now comprises a large
group of immigrants with Irish citizenship who share the same rights and
responsibilities as Irish citizens by birth or descent. Citizenship does not
necessarily imply a full sense of belonging, but the very significant increase
in the numbers applying for, and gaining, citizenship indicates progress towards
the fuller integration of immigrants in Ireland. Notwithstanding the
considerable progress made, challenges remain for Ireland in integrating its
large numbers of new immigrants.”
Killian Forde, CEO of The Integration Centre
said: “This is the last Integration Monitor in a series of four which will be
published by The Integration Centre. It is a crucial piece of work as, without
an analysis of the statistics around integration, targeted, evidenced-based
policy strategies cannot be put in place.
In several European countries, the government supports the monitoring of
integration, which is why The Integration Centre undertook the responsibility in
recent years. However, due to funding cuts this will no longer be possible. We
can only hope that the State will prove its commitment to promoting a socially
cohesive society via providing funding in this area in the future.”