Migrants contribute £1.2 billion to Northern Ireland’s economy

Play key role in filling labour shortages

23rd December 2009: The migrant workers in Northern Ireland contributed £1.2 billion to the local economy.

As many as three reports on migrant workers also revealed almost 40,000 jobs last year went to them.

The emergent view was that the migrants have played a key role in filling labour shortages in the Northern Ireland economy. One of the reports said the findings would support the notion that labour market displacement caused by migrant workers was largely ‘voluntary’ in nature.

The native workers were apparently rejecting the job opportunities on offer in favour of either long-term benefit dependency or ongoing job search.

The research revealed the migrants represented a significant share of the workforce. It found that 37 per cent of Northern Ireland employers reported difficulties in recruiting native-born workers to fill vacant positions. This was despite the fact that the local employers preferred a native worker over a migrant of equal ability.

One of the reports said 47 per cent felt migrant workers took jobs away from people born in Northern Ireland.

The Sectors particularly dependent on migrant workers included parts of the manufacturing, construction and the hospitality industry.

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