Immigration: Republic Of Ireland More Positive Than NI – Report



Immigration: Republic of Ireland more positive than NI - report

People in the Republic of Ireland have “more positive attitudes” to immigrants than those in Northern Ireland, a new study suggests.

That could be due people in Northern Ireland being less likely to have immigrant friends and more likely to feel politically powerless.

The research has been carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Dublin.

It compares attitudes to migrants in the two countries.

It also looks at how migrants have integrated, what jobs they do and how children perform in education.

‘More highly educated’

The study said the majority of migrants to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were more highly educated than the native population.

In Northern Ireland the number of people belonging to ethnic minority communities has risen in recent years, partly due to immigration.

There are also rising numbers of “newcomer” pupils in Northern Ireland schools.

According to the ESRI study, the vast majority of migrants come to Northern Ireland and Ireland to work or study.

But there have been increasing numbers of asylum seekers coming to both parts of the island in recent years.

In 2020, for instance, over 10% of international migrants into Northern Ireland were seeking asylum, compared to around 7% in the Republic of Ireland.

Overall, however, migrants make up a higher proportion of the population in the Republic than in Northern Ireland.

But in both jurisdictions they are likely to have higher education qualifications than the native population.

“All migrant groups in both jurisdictions are more highly educated than native-born, with the exception of Eastern Europeans in Northern Ireland,” the ESRI study said.

“However, most migrant groups in Ireland are more likely to have third-level qualifications than their counterparts in Northern Ireland.”

‘Struggling to meet demand’

Employment rates for migrants are “generally high” in both jurisdictions, but the ESRI study said they still faced difficulties including discrimination and English-language skills.

In Northern Ireland, some community organisations have recently said they are struggling to meet the demand for English-language classes for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The ESRI study said that English-language education for migrants was not sufficiently “co-ordinated” in either Northern Ireland or the Republic.

It also looked at how children from migrant families performed in school.

It said second-generation migrant children – those born in Northern Ireland or Ireland but with migrant parents – performed “at least as well, if not better, than their native peers”.

But it suggested that, in Northern Ireland, first-generation migrant children faced difficulties in school.

There were, however, stark differences in attitudes to migrants in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, according to the study.

“People in Ireland feel more positive about immigrants, feel immigrants are more successfully integrated into their society, and believe the impact of immigrants will be more positive, compared to people in Northern Ireland,” the study said.

‘Less likely to influence politics’

It said people in Northern Ireland were less likely to have friends or family who were immigrants.

They were also less likely to feel that they could influence political and social change than people in the Republic.

There have, however, been a number of anti asylum-seeker protests in the Republic of Ireland in recent months as well as counter-demonstrations.

The ERSI research also raised concerns about increased “racial profiling” of migrants at border checks post-Brexit, particularly on journeys from Northern Ireland into the Republic.

In conclusion, the study said that the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly might make people believe that their voice mattered more in politics and create more optimism.

That, in turn, could make attitudes to migrants more positive.

The ESRI carried out the research with the Shared Island Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach.

Source – BBC News



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