Need for more data on immigration

 

Madam, – Newly released statistics showing that the number of work permits issued to non-EU citizens and the number of existing permits being renewed, has fallen dramatically during the recession highlight the need for the Government to more accurately collect immigration-related data (Home News, January 4th).

The number of work permits being issued in Ireland has fallen significantly and has been falling for some years now. While it can be assumed that the drop in the number of work permits being renewed by people who have been working in Ireland for some time can be partly attributed to them having lost their jobs in the recession, it would be unsafe to conclude this is the only reason.

It is no longer necessary to renew many work permits annually. They can now be issued for longer periods. In addition, people who were originally living in Ireland on the basis of having a work permit may now be long-term residents or citizens and no longer require a permit, or they may have had their immigration status changed in a number of other ways. It would be incorrect to say all non-EU citizens require a work permit to work legally in Ireland.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland believes it is crucial for more accurate data to be collected in relation to immigration: for example, the Government does not collect data on who is leaving the country.

It would be harmful if statistics on work permits created incorrect assumptions about the number of migrants living and working in Ireland, or were used as the basis for developing inappropriate social or immigration policies. – Yours, etc,

DENISE CHARLTON,

Chief Executive Officer,

Immigrant Council of Ireland,

St Andrew Street,

Dublin 2.