Number of Poles registering to work down 37%


THE NUMBER of Poles registering to work in Ireland fell by 37 per cent to 8,742 last year reflecting lower immigration due to the recession.

New figures show 69,039 foreign nationals were issued personal public service (PPS) numbers in 2010, down from 79,986 a year earlier. This compares to 156,151 registrations in 2008 of PPS numbers, which are allocated by the Department of Social Protection to enable people to work or access public services.

A downward trend is apparent among migrants from some of the EU states which joined the union in 2004 and helped fuel the boom during the Celtic Tiger.

Polish people registering for PPS numbers fell to 8,742 from 13,794 in 2009. The high point of Polish migration to Ireland was in 2006 when 93,787 Poles registered for numbers.

However, Poles were still the biggest group issued with numbers in 2010, slightly above the 7,810 people from Britain and Northern Ireland, who were issued with PPS numbers.

“Ireland remains an attractive country for Poles because of the way of life and the positive treatment they get from people and State bodies,” says Gregory Jagielski, secretary at the consular section of the Polish embassy.

However he said fewer Poles moving to Ireland may reflect an improving economy in Poland in recent years and the fact most people who wanted to leave Poland had already left in 2005 and 2006.

He said the embassy estimated that 180,000 Poles now live in Ireland.

The number of people from Latvia issued with PPS numbers fell to 3,134 in 2010, down from 3,916 in 2009. Those from from Slovakia fell to 1,288 in 2010, down from 1,784 in 2009.

However, people issued with numbers from Lithuania and Romania increased to 4,353 and 3,002 respectively in 2010. These figures, which go against the general downward trend, may reflect lower living standards and a deep recession in both countries in recent years.

Brazilians obtaining PPS numbers also increased to 4,257 in 2010, up from 2,741 a year earlier. However, the number of Indians issued with numbers fell sharply to 1,430 last year, down from 2,249.

Numbers from Germany, France, Spain and Hungary issued with PPS numbers all fell in line with the general trend. US citizens issued with numbers fell slightly to 2,518.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said it was no surprise there had been a drop in the figures as a consequence of the economic crisis.

“The fact that more than 69,000 new PPS numbers were issued shows that immigration is a permanent phenomenon . . . migrants make up a significant proportion of the population and will continue to do so,” the council said.

Figures on PPS numbers provide an indication of inward migration, although they do not show how many people have left the State since registering.

Similarly, they do not include migrants who chose not to sign up for a PPS number or seasonal workers who reactivated numbers they held.