Thursday, December 4, 2014


A recent survey conducted by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland has revealed that 21% of undocumented migrant people in Ireland have lived here for over a decade. The survey is the first of its kind in Ireland. 540 migrants were questioned in the survey and opened up about their lives in Ireland, detailing their employment and family situations. It gives a clear snapshot of the lives that migrants are living in Ireland including the types of industries they work in and their emotional connections to Ireland. The research conducted by the MRCI has also shown that 81% of undocumented migrants in Ireland have been here for 5 years or more. 

The survey sheds light on the particular difficulties faced by migrant workers in Ireland. One account highlights the difficulties of being unable to travel. One respondent in particular was unable to return to his county of origin for his father’s funeral. On this basis, the report has drawn attention to the stark contrast between the Taoiseach’s condemnation of the treatment of the undocumented Irish in the US and his called-for change in treatment on humanitarian grounds with the treatment of undocumented in Ireland. It is clear that most migrant workers have financial and emotional ties in Ireland and share similar challenges to the undocumented Irish in the US. The Taoiseach’s inconsistency in this matter has therefore come under fire. 

With the survey also illustrating that a large proportion (one third) of those surveyed has children living in Ireland, a spokesperson for the MRCI has stated that the problem of undocumented workers in Ireland can no longer be ignored by the Government. 

The research has also shed some light on the educational attainments of the migrant workers in Ireland. It has noted that 53% of the respondents have obtained a third level qualification. This figure, coupled with the figure that 87% of those surveyed are working, acts to show that most migrants in Ireland are hard-working and educated individuals. 

This survey will hopefully act as an impetus for the Government to make some much needed reforms in the area of undocumented in Ireland. 

Rebecca Keatinge


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