Press Centre

MRCI releases profile report on undocumented migrants in Ireland

PRESS RELEASE: 25 November 2011

 Today, the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) has released a profile report on undocumented migrants in Ireland based on data collected from 1,250 undocumented migrants seeking assistance from the MRCI over a two year period (2009-2011) together with a recent survey conducted with over 100 undocumented migrants.

Click here for full report online

The information gathered from 1,250 undocumented migrants shows the following regarding nationality, gender, age, years in Ireland, county of residence and job sector.

Nationality:   Undocumented migrants originated from over 75 nationalities. Philippines (16.9%), China (13.7%), Ukraine (8.3%), Pakistan (6.1%), Moldova (5.9%)  and Brazil (5.2%) were the largest nationalities.

Age:  The average age of undocumented persons was 37 years.  75% were over the age of 30.  The largest group of undocumented migrants were between the ages of 31-40 (38.6%) followed by 41-50 (28.3%) and 19-30 (23.7%).

Gender:  34% of undocumented migrants were women and 66% were men.

Number of Years in Ireland:   The number of years migrants have been undocumented in Ireland ranged between 0-13 years.   87% of undocumented migrants have been in Ireland for 4 or more years.

County of Residence:  Undocumented migrants came from all 26 counties in Ireland.   The highest numbers were from counties Dublin (73.2%) followed by Kildare (4.6%) and Galway (3.6%).  Note: MRCI’s offices are based in Dublin and may influence these figures.

Job Sector:   Restaurant and catering (34.0%) was the largest job sector for undocumented migrants followed by domestic work (15.1%), cleaning and maintenance (6.6%), construction (6.4%), and shop and retail (5.8%).

More in depth data regarding family situation, employment and future plans was gathered from a survey conducted with 100 undocumented migrants.

Martial status:  43% of those surveyed indicated they were married.   Of those who were married, 62% were living with their spouse in Ireland.

Children:  58% of respondents had children under the age of 18 and of these 50% had children who were born in Ireland.

Employment:  85% of all of those surveyed were in some form of employment in the state.   Of those in employment, 64% had been in the same employment for over 2 years and 21% had been in the same employment for 5 years or more.

Taxation:  48% indicated that their employers were paying income taxes and PRSI contributions for them.

Income:  52% of respondents had an income of less than €300 per week.   33% were families with children including one family with four children who had an income of less than €200 per week.

Plans for the Future:  95% stated that they intended to remain living and working in Ireland.

“There are an estimated 30,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland but data on them is scarce,” says Edel McGinley, MRCI’s Irregular Migration Project Leader.   “This is the first comprehensive profile on undocumented migrants in Ireland.”

Ms. McGinley continues, “Most assume undocumented  migrants are mainly young, single and male.  Our data shows a much broader and diverse reality of the undocumented migrant population in Ireland which tends to be older with significant numbers of women and with large numbers of families with children who have been settled in Ireland for several years.”


Editor’s Notes:

 MRCI’s Justice for the Undocumented Campaign Group*

Over the past year hundreds of undocumented migrants have come together to initiate a campaign to work for a solution for all undocumented migrants in Ireland.   The Justice for the Undocumented Campaign Group is specifically campaigning for the government to introduce an earned regularisation scheme that would give undocumented migrants and their families living in Ireland a window of opportunity to come forward and earn their way to permanent residency status.