Far more Irish people are still emigrating than moving home, despite the substantial rise in the number of returning emigrants last year.
As the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed yesterday that the number of people working in Ireland has surpassed two million for the first time since 2008, a separate set of figures – showing a 14.4 per cent increase in immigration – indicates that an improving economy is making Ireland a more attractive place to live again.
For the first time since 2009, more people have moved to Ireland than emigrated. A total of 21,100 Irish people moved back to the Republic from abroad in the year to April this year – a jump of 74 per cent – while 58,200 people of other nationalities also moved here to live, up 1.7 per cent.
But, the figures indicate that the so-called brain-drain of graduates has come to an end, as the number of people (of all nationalities) moving here with a third-level qualification in the period outweighed those leaving by 6,200. This compares to a net outflow of 13,400 graduates in 2011.
The Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland (MRCI) said the figures show Ireland has an increasing demand for workers from overseas, as the economy improves, but warned of an urgent need for immigration policy reform.
“Thousands of people are living undocumented in this country because our work permit system and labour migration policies failed to respond to demand for workers during the boom years. There are no structures in place to stop that happening again,” said MRCI policy and research officer Pablo Rojas Coppari.