Migrants in the labour force in 2022

26 Aug 2022

The day after publishing the annual Population and Migration Estimates showing the highest inward migration numbers in fifteen years (more on these new statistics to come from us in the near future), yesterday the Central Statistics Office released a smaller, less widely discussed dataset that also sheds some light on the nature of migration in Ireland in 2022: the Labour Force Survey for Quarter 2 of 2022. A look at this latter release provides interesting insights into how migrant populations fit into the Irish labour force today.

The survey data shows that for April-June 2022, non-Irish citizens accounted for just under half a million (495,100) persons currently classified as ‘in the labour force’. This represents approximately 18.5% of the total labour force in Ireland during that period. Of these, nearly 95% were in employment, with the remainder unemployed. (This is similar to the percentage of Irish citizens in employment versus unemployed.) This is an increase of about 72,000 non-Irish citizens in employment from April-June 2021, with about 10,000 fewer unemployed.

Of these migrants in the labour force, about 15% are UK citizens, 53% EU citizens from outside Ireland, and 32% from elsewhere in the world, as illustrated in the chart below.

Pie chart titled ‘Citizenship of Non-Irish Workers in Ireland, April-June 2022’.

While UK and EU nationals, who represented the majority of non-Irish workers in Ireland during this period, do not require employment permits to work in Ireland, a look at the remaining 32% from ‘other’ countries via data from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) can provide some indication as to who is coming to work in Ireland, and in which sectors they are employed. (Though note that not all third-country nationals who work in the State have employment permits, as some visa types allow an individual to work without an employment permit.)

The DETE data accounts for 24,116 employment permits issued to third-country nationals between January and July 2022; this includes both first-time permits and renewals. The top five countries of origin among those issued with employment permits (new or renewed) during that period were India (accounting for 35.7% of all permits), Brazil (12.6%), Pakistan (4.8%), the Philippines (4.7%), and China (3.6%). The largest number of permits were issued within the Information and Communication sector (27.2% of all permits), followed by Health and Social Work (23.5%) and Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing (15.7%). Co. Dublin accounted for the most permits by far, with 49% issued there. The second and third largest numbers of permits were issued in Co. Cork (7.2%) and Co. Kildare (6.8%).

For more information, see:

Central Statistics Office, Labour Force Survey Quarter 2 2022

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Employment Permit Statistics 2022

EMN Ireland study, Policy and practice targeting the labour market integration of non-EU nationals in Ireland (2019)