Press Centre


MEDIA STATEMENT: 12 October 2010

MRCI has expressed deep concern with Emmet Oliver’s article Thousands of workers imported as jobless rises in today’s Irish Independent.(1)

Mr. Oliver’s claim of a ‘surge’ in workers from outside the EU is actually far from reality.   The number of employment permits, including new permits and renewals, issued to non-EU workers over the past two years has decreased by 300%.  In 2007, a total of 23,604 permits were issued, and by 2009 it decreased to 7,962.   In addition, the majority of the permits that Mr. Oliver refers to this year were issued to people already in the country simply renewing their permits.  The actual number of new permits being issued this year is in the region of 0.1% of the workforce.

Mr. Oliver’s selective use of figures is sensational, irresponsible and undoubtedly will fuel anger against migrant workers.  This may be good for the Irish Independent but bad for the people who will no doubt be at the receiving end of this anger.

Migration is a reality and part of the global economy.   Irish workers will be recruited and seek jobs outside the EU and others from outside the EU will be recruited and seek work here.

The real problem with our permit system is that workers do not have the right to freely change their employer.  This is a leading factor of exploitation and undermines labour standards.  That reality now needs to be addressed by the Government.

(1)   Thousands of workers 'imported' despite job crisis
Opinion: Labour has always flown towards work opportunities