New research monitors the integration of immigrants into Irish society

02 Mar 2017

Mr David Stanton, TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration & Integration, launched a new report titled Monitoring Report on Integration 2016, published jointly by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Department of Justice and Equality.

Key Findings


  • The total number of naturalisation certificates issued to non-Irish nationals in 2015 was 13,500, 46 per cent lower than the 2012 peak, when 25,100 certificates were issued.
  • It is estimated that up to 45 per cent of the estimated adult immigrant population of non-EU origin who were resident in Ireland at end-2015 had acquired Irish citizenship.

Employment and Unemployment

  • In 2015, employment rates were similar but slightly higher for Irish nationals (63 per cent) than non-Irish nationals (60 per cent). However employment rates varied across national groups and the employment rate was very low for African nationals (circa 40 per cent).
  • In 2015, the unemployment rate was higher for non-Irish nationals (13 per cent) compared to Irish nationals (just under 10 per cent).


  • Data from the National Assessment Tests at primary level show lower reading scores among immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds than their Irish peers at both second and sixth class.
  • The difference between mathematics test scores between immigrant students and Irish students is only statistically significant for second class students.

Poverty and Deprivation

  • In 2014, 21 per cent of non-Irish nationals were living below the income poverty line, drawn at 60 per cent of median household income, compared to 16 per cent of Irish nationals.
  • However, basic deprivation rates (enforced lack of  two or more items relating to food, clothing, heating and family/social life) were similar for Irish and non-Irish, as was consistent poverty (being in income poverty and experiencing basic deprivation).
  • Income poverty rates were particularly high for the non-EU group in 2014 (46 per cent), and have increased in recent years. Some of this increase may be due to the high and increasing proportion of students in the non-EU population, as well as rising in-work poverty among this group. Deprivation rates do not differ significantly between non-EU nationals and Irish nationals.

The report also focused on Immigrant Skills and Competencies, comparing the skills of immigrants in Ireland with the native born population in terms of literacy, numeracy and problem solving.

For more information:

Download report 

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