Impact of Immigration in Ireland
Impact of Immigration in Ireland
Impact of Immigration in Ireland
Ireland is located in Western Europe surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean, where it occupies 5/6 of the island west of Great Britain. The Celtic tribes were the first to settle on the island between 600 and 150 BC, which was followed by numerous raids by Norsemen, Danes, and Normans. The Subsequent Anglo-Irish confrontations lasted up to the 19th century in 1921, when Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom (UK). Ireland is in the European Union (EU) and boasts of having the youngest populations in the union. Ireland’s economically viable resources include lead, natural gas, dolomite, copper, limestone, gypsum, silver, peat, and barite, with viable agricultural land being 66% of the country’s total land mass. A majority of Ireland’s population is centered towards the eastern side of the island in, near, and around Dublin the capital city, with populations in the western parts being sparse because of poor soils, mountainous terrain, and poor accessibility. The country’s population is composed of 82% Irish, and rest is made up of travelers, Asians, other whites, black and other unspecified groups.5 Ireland’s remarkable economic growth in the late to early 21st century has made the country an attractive destination for immigrants from various regions of the world.
The country’s relatively young population makes it an ideal ground and source of easily accessible, qualified, and professional labor. Ireland’s strong economy coupled with immigration laws that encourage young professionals to immigrate to the country can be attributed to the country’s increased ability to attract a vast population of immigrants from various countries. Ireland is a member of the EU, which eliminates the need for citizens from member states wishing to travel to the country to acquire travel visas compared to people from non-EU member states.5 Ireland’s vibrant economic growth can be attributed to liberal labor and business laws that attracted numerous multinational firms to set up their factories in the country. For example, Apple Inc. and Intel chip manufacturing firms are located in the country.1 Unlike other countries that base their immigration systems on points such as the UK, it allows immigrants with expertise and skills required by the Irish economy to access the country easily.1 Despite widespread concerns and beliefs that immigrants pose a substantial risk to the wellbeing of locals; research evidence illustrates that immigrants do not pose a threat to locals. Immigration is perceived as an inward movement of people into a certain geographical location for various reasons including security, social, and economic reasons.4 Accordingly, a majority of immigration witnessed in Ireland is composed of economic immigrants, which can be attributed to its favorable laws targeting economic refugees.
The impacts of immigration can be both beneficial and retrogressive depending on the perspective taken into analyzing the outcome of these movements of people across national boundaries. Ireland benefits immensely from the influx of a skilled and intelligent labor force that is attracted by the country’s robust economy and employment opportunities.3 The highly skilled and professional nature and productivity of Ireland’s labor force have made significant contributions to the country’s economic growth. An immigrant labor force takes up job opportunities and tasks that local or domestic workers might frown upon or are unwilling to undertake. According to Quinn and Hughes,5 during the economic growth years or the “Celtic Tiger” years, a lot of immigrants took job opportunities that the Irish were unwilling to undertake due to their increased affluence. Immigrants contribute significantly to paying taxes, which increases the amount available to the government to provide basic social services such as health, education, security, and infrastructure. Immigrants create a new market for products and services, which work to augment a population’s purchasing power, and subsequently impacts the economy positively.4 Immigrants also engage in various business activities, with some that are predominantly ethnic in nature, which can act as social anchor for other immigrants and improve their wellbeing and experience of their host country more favorable.3 Immigrants in Ireland also make significant contributions to promoting globalization; an aspect that is considered the country’s foreign policy agenda of increasing diversity in the nation.
Ireland’s open-door policy towards economic immigrants has helped enhance the country’s image as an open and tolerant society that is ready and willing to embrace diversity as a tool and opportunity for progress. Increased immigration into Ireland has resulted in the country’s increased cultural competitiveness and diversity.3 These observations are based on the fact that immigrants encourage their host country to trade with their parent states for items and services that they still need. Immigrants bring with them the added advantage of language and knowledge about trade practices of their parent country in addition to gaining insights into trade requirements from their host country. The exchange of skills, traditions, and cultural practices helps host nations such as Ireland gain an advantage in international trade because immigrants confer the country with valuable information that makes trade more effective and mutually beneficial between states. Ireland is a developed economy, which means that immigrants have greater opportunities of accessing capital, and other resources that might have been difficult to come by in their parent country.1 Access to capital and resources by immigrants in their host country provides an opportunity for the creation of new business opportunities and relationships, both within and without Ireland. It is important to note that apart from encouraging economic immigration, Ireland is bound by duty as a member of the international community to accept refugees and asylum seekers from nations facing civil strife and violence. The economic impacts of refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland are more severe and adverse compared to economic immigrants. Refugees and asylum seekers do not make significant contributions to Ireland’s economy because their immigration status does not allow them to participate in the country’s economy; rather, they pose an economic burden to the country.2
Immigration is a movement of population groups from one geographical area to another for various reasons chief among them being economic, social, and political factors. Ireland is country that has used an open-door policy towards economic immigrants; an aspect that can be attributed to the country’s continued economic growth. The impacts of immigration to Ireland have been extremely beneficial because they have positioned the country as an excellent source of highly skilled and intelligent labor force for various industries. The high incidence of economic immigration to Ireland has increased direct foreign investment significantly compared to other EU member states. Immigration can be perceived as a positive or negative phenomenon depending on the perspective and context taken to analyze its impacts.
- Barrett A, McCarthy Y. Immigrants in a booming economy: analyzing their earnings and welfare dependence. Labour. 2007 Dec 1; 21(4‐5):789-808.
- Barrett A, Bergin A, Duffy D. The Labour Market Characteristics and Labour Market Impacts of Immigrants in Ireland. Economic & Social Review. 2006 Mar 1; 37(1).
- Lane PR, Ruane F. Globalisation, and the Irish economy. IIIS Occasional Paper. 2006 Mar (1).
- Ruhs M. Managing the Immigration and Employment of non-EU Nationals in Ireland. Policy Inst. at Trinity College Dublin; 2005 May 19.
- Quinn E, Hughes G. The impact of immigration on Europe’s societies: Ireland. Report prepared for the European Commission Directorate-General Justice, Freedom, and Security and published by the Economic and Social Research Institute. 2004.
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