Monday, February 06, 2006

Ireland must wean itself off immigrant dependency

Eamon Quinn:

The National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) says in a report to be published tomorrow that the cost of future immigration will be increasingly shouldered by the government, and not private companies, as the cost of housing, educating and integrating workers from abroad escalates.

The average age of future immigrant workers is likely to rise above 30 years, the level at which it stands now, and the cost to the public services will rise accordingly, the report states.

It also says that the €1 billion the state spends on returning Irish people to the workforce could be much more effectively used and that the scores of training initiatives designed to upskill Irish workers are failing to work on the ground.

The NESF is also expected to recommend cuts in the number of community employment schemes, which employ 20,000 people. The schemes account for the largest single item of the €1 billion.

Although the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.3 per cent, the report says that there is no need to increase the €1 billion budget because the exchequer was spending the same amount of money when unemployment stood at more than 12 per cent.

It also recommends that an additional 5,000 people be retrained for each of the next five years and that training organisation Fas should oversee their integration into the workforce.

Report says that it may become increasingly more difficult and costly to attract and integrate greater numbers of migrants in Ireland


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