Irish Emigration Poses a Threat to Economic Recovery


Generations of young people and skilled workers are leaving Ireland to seek out a better life abroad, the Financial Times reports.¬†Ireland’s inflows and outflows of population have shifted drastically over the course of the past few years. While the country once posted one of the higher immigration rates across the continent, in 2012 it led the way in emigration, with some net 35,000 people leaving the country. The financial crisis appears to have been the trigger for the shift, causing many Irish residents to think that they have better futures outside of their home country.

The problem has only been exacerbated by the status of Ireland’s youth. With youth unemployment above 25 percent, as it is in many parts of Europe, young people in the country have increasingly found themselves without work. Plus, with unemployment benefits for youth being trimmed in Ireland’s austerity measures, many people simply do not have the means to sit around and wait for work to become available. For such people, emigration becomes the only option.

It’s not just the needy and the desperate who are being asked to leave Ireland, though. People applying for jobs through federal agencies have been given the recommendation to take jobs overseas. In some cases, this could entail moving to the United Kingdom, while the advice has even been so farfetched as to suggest taking a job as a bus driver in Malta for very little pay. Such programs hint that there really is very little work to be found in Ireland, despite claims of an economic recovery abounding as the nation prepares to exit its bailout later this month.

A particularly troubling trend is that there is evidence that it is not only unskilled workers who are leaving the country. Professionals in various fields and college graduates, according to the latest studies, are also displaying the same trends of emigration that have been seen in the general populace.

The phenomenon is especially prevalent among doctors, around half of whom have left Ireland after completing schooling in the country. Many just feel as if there are better opportunities abroad, and that their education provides them with greater pay, greater benefits, and greater chances for advancement in a country other than Ireland.

With the Irish housing market still insecure at best, some feel as if investing in a home is an endeavor best undertaken in a foreign land. Regardless of the reason, emigration poses a threat not only to Ireland’s populace as a whole but specifically to the talented class of individuals that can create and maintain wealth in a society.

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