Friday, August 31, 2012

Assisting our immigration firms can open up the world

An article in the Irish Independent from Thursday, 30th August, discusses the changing demographic profile in Ireland. Numerous economic and political debates have included the discussion about the “new multi-racial Ireland,” including the potential for “non-Irish nationals to bolster business activity.”

Currently, foreign nationals constitute eleven percent of the nation’s population, and much of this sector is comprised of young, bright college graduates that are eager to begin their own job. The article reports that they have, “on average, progressed to higher levels of education than the Irish population as a whole . . . statistically they are more likely to start their own business. We therefore have within our population a very large group of people who are young, well educated, highly entrepreneurial, and with established networks in foreign countries, but still we do not recognise them as an asset and a wonderful opportunity to expand our international trade.”

Immigrants are valuable trading partners in business because they bring a fresh perspective on the work, as well as new and innovative methodologies and ideas. However, the article admits that issues with language, religion, age, and gender have caused conflicts and difficulties for immigrants attempting to integrate into Irish society and begin working. Not only that, but the very nature of their non-Irish status also presents its own obstacles, which include “a lack of business contracts,  greater difficulty in accessing finance from institutional sources, and an information deficit when it comes to negotiating business regulatory and legal environments.”

The article concludes with recommendations. “What is required in Ireland is targeted intervention promoted through the social networks and media channels favoured by immigrants.” This way, the challenges that are faced by immigrant entrepreneurs can be met and properly faced, so that they may have an easier time establishing their own business and integrating into Irish life. “At a time when Ireland is seeking to build its international trade across the globe, it appears that we have a wonderful resource on our doorstep that is not being proactively utilised.”

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