Report finds recession hits immigrants in Ireland hardest

A report assessing the integration of immigrants into Irish society has found they have been hit harder by the current recession.

The Annual Monitoring Report on Integration suggests the number of immigrants in employment between 2008 and 2011 fell by 40%.

This compares to a fall of 10% for Irish nationals over the same period.

The unemployment rate in 2011 was 18% among immigrants compared to just under 14% for Irish nationals.

The report, published on Tuesday by the Integration Centre and the ESRI, also found that sports participation among immigrants is low.

It is the first time that sports participation has been included as an indicator to measure immigrant inclusion in Irish society.

Killian Forde, chief executive of the Integration Centre, said internationally sport was a telling indicator of migrant integration.

"Whilst many would hesitate to call a lack of participation in sport a serious social problem, it does flag a number of concerns for the future," he said.

"If immigrants are not participating in sport because they feel marginalised and excluded, then Irish society is far more segregated than many would care to believe."

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague said: "I welcome the launch of this important report, which provides us with a deeper understanding of integration in Dublin and Ireland. The detailed evidence provided in this report will help policy makers to make better decisions."

Other areas of concern highlighted in the report were poverty and long-term status.

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