Skip to main content

Skilled immigrants forced to take low-paid jobs

Resource type: News

Irish Examiner |

by Senan Hogan MANY immigrants in Ireland with university degrees are being forced to work as cleaners or in factories, it was claimed yesterday. Nigerian-born member of Ennis Town Council Cllr Taiwo Matthew called for a better system for recognising overseas educational qualifications here. The trained doctor became the first immigrant elected to a local authority, in 2004. He told the Parnell Summer School in Co Wicklow: “I know fellow emigrants who have third-level qualifications but are working in factories or as cleaners because it is difficult to get their degrees accepted in Ireland. “This is a loss to the State because these people are not in jobs where they can contribute with their true expertise and skills.” Minister for Integration Conor Lenihan earlier told the roundtable discussion he expected Irish people to begin emigrating in larger numbers in the years ahead, in line with trends in other post-boom countries. “I think it’s going to be a feature. It would be desirable if we kept our own people here but that is the international trend out there. “But it’s not a bad thing in an increasingly globalised environment and the continuing opening up of the EU labour market.” The Summer School was discussing immigrants and their integration through education initiatives, with a panel of academics as well as representatives from the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. Immigration Control Platform spokeswoman Aine Ni Chonaill claimed during the discussion that immigrants were expensive and host countries often struggled to provide jobs and public services like housing and school places for their needs. “The idea that migrants boost the economy is largely a myth,” she added. However Mr Lenihan said that the ESBJ had calculated immigrants had contributed up to 3% to the country’s GDP. He also said he didn’t agree with confining immigration to a certain percentage of the future population. “This will be dependent on the prevailing economic and social conditions,” he explained. Mr Lenihan said Ireland had a low birth rate in regard to the sustainability of its current population. He added: “I’m the Minister for Integration not the minister for birth rates. “I don’t know what I can do in that regard. I can certainly encourage you to have more children.” Taiwo Matthew said the problem is a loss to the State as the people cannot contribute with their true expertise.