Migrant labour market outcomes were more affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated public health restrictions than those of Irish-born workers, a new study from the Economic and Social Research Institute has found.
However, by early 2022, the migrant employment rate of 77% was higher than the 72% rate among Irish-born workers.
It also exceeded the migrant employment rate of 71% recorded at the start of 2020 just before the pandemic struck.
The Monitoring Report on Integration 2022, published jointly by the ESRI and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, is the latest in a series of reports that investigates how migrants in Ireland are faring.
The research found that just before Covid-19 struck, the overall unemployment rate for migrants was 5.8%, rising to 9.1% during the pandemic, before falling again to 5.9% in 2022.
However, in 2022 the migrant unemployment rate was still higher than the Irish-born unemployment rate of 4.6%.
For African migrants, the employment rate increased from 56% in the first quarter of 2020 to 74% in the first quarter of 2022.
The research shows that a greater share of the foreign-born population has a third-level degree than the Irish-born population.
Migrants had a higher “at-risk of poverty” rate and were much less likely to own their home compared to the Irish-born population.
Migrants also faced more issues relating to housing affordability, with 29% of migrants spending more than 30% of their income on housing compared to 8% of the Irish-born population.
“This report shows that migrants in Ireland have employment rates and levels of education that exceed those of the Irish-born population, with certain groups such as African migrants showing particular progress,” said Dr Frances McGinnity, lead author of the report.
“Nevertheless, Ireland faces substantial challenges in integrating those that come to live here, particularly in areas that are currently under substantial pressure,” Dr McGinnity said.
“Measures to address major current challenges in the Irish housing market are urgently needed to improve this situation,” she added.
Minister of State for Community Development, Integration and Charities Joe O’Brien said the research has given invaluable insights into outcomes for migrants in Ireland.
“Evidence-based policy making is key to ensuring the Government is addressing the most critical issues, and making changes that can have a real impact,” Mr O’Brien said.