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Saturday 17 March 2018

Number of emigrants returning home soars

Are you one of the thousands of Irish people that have returned home in the last two years? Tell us why you decided to come back

Ian Talbot. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ian Talbot. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

More people are now coming into Ireland to live than are leaving, while the number of returning Irish emigrants has surged, latest figures show.

It is the first time since 2009 that Ireland has recorded net inward migration.

The number of returning Irish emigrants has surged in the year to the end of April.

At least 21,100 people with Irish nationality came into the country in this period - up 74pc on last year, when 12,100 arrived. Overall, 79,300 people came to live in Ireland over the year to the end of April - up 15pc - while 76,200 left.

Business groups welcomed the migration data, but warned that a growing workforce and population means extra pressure on state resources, and the need to improve infrastructure.

"Net inward migration along with an increasing population will place further demand on State resources in the future, highlighting further the need for government to prioritise investment in infrastructure as a matter of urgency," said Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland chief executive.

With housing and high rents an issue at present, business groups have also repeatedly stressed Ireland's high marginal rate of income tax needs to be addressed. And the Small Firms Association this week again noted the level the rate kicks in also needs to be increased.

The CSO data shows the bulk of the people who came into Ireland in the year to April have done so for work. That has consistently been the case since 2012. Students were the next biggest category.

Work was the main reason for individuals leaving the country, but studying was a close second. The majority of those emigrating were either at work or a student in the period prior to departing, with one in 10 listed as unemployed.

A breakdown of immigration by education attainment shows more than half of those aged 15 and over who were emigrating had a third level degree or above. In April, the CSO said there was net inward migration of 3,100, compared with net outward migration of 11,600 in the previous year. Of the 76,200 people who left Ireland over the period, almost 42pc were estimated to be Irish.

This is down 3,500 on the year to April 2015, when 35,300 Irish nationals left. Non-Irish nationals from outside the EU accounted for around 40pc of total immigrants into Ireland.

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), however, said the number of young people aged between 15 and 24 leaving the country was still rising.

It noted that within this age group, 31,700 left in the year to the end of April, compared with 30,400 the previous year. There were about 12,000 more young people who left the country over the period than came in.

Marie-Claire McAleer, head of research and policy at NYCI, said there remain many impediments to returning to Ireland.

"We are encouraged by the steps that have been taken by the Government to address some of these barriers but substantial work remains to be done to stem the tide of young people having to leave Ireland at present and to provide the opportunities for them to return in the future," she said.

The source of data for the migration statistics is the Quarterly National Household Survey, which gives details on employment and unemployment, and also provides a basis for the classification of flows by sex, age group, origin/destination, and nationality.

The CSO said the migration data is also compiled with reference to movements in other migration indicators, such as the number of PPS numbers allocated to foreigners, and the number of visas issued to Irish people travelling to destinations including Australia, the US and Canada.

Are you one of the thousands of Irish people that have returned home in the last two years? Tell us why you decided to come back

Read more: Hundreds of emigrants lured home every week as employment levels soar 

Irish Independent

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