26/11/2010

NI Immigrant Influx Slows

The number of people coming to NI from Europe and other places has slowed.

Official figures published on Thursday showed that immigration into Northern Ireland has slowed, it has been revealed.

The economic slowdown was blamed after an estimated 2,100 extra foreign residents arrived last year- down from 10,000 at the peak five years ago.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) said most immigrants were from eastern Europe or Portugal.

The NISRA report said: "Given the current economic climate, the latest downward trend in inward migration is likely to continue."

Many migrants work in the service and construction sectors, areas which have been badly affected by the slow recovery.

The latest 2010 statistics point towards a further reduction with national insurance number registrations, Home Office worker registrations and points-based data showing a fall in Northern Ireland registrations.

That percentage varies across the country, from as high as 8% in Dungannon to less than 0.5% in Larne.

In both 2005-6 and 2006-7 about 10,000 net residents were added to Northern Ireland.
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There had been a balanced migration in the 1990s, with the period since 2004 seeing population growth with immigration exceeding emigration while in recent years the scale of immigration has fallen from a high of 32,300 people coming to live in Northern Ireland in 2006-7 to 23,500 people in 2008-9.

This has led to overall net migration (immigration minus emigration) falling in the last two years while in 2009, information on new health service registrations on migrants coming from outside the UK shows that 50% gave their reason for coming to Northern Ireland as work related, around a quarter (27%) came for family reasons, 12% for education and 10% gave another or no reason.

During 2009, fewer than one in 10 births here (2,300 births out of 24,900) were to mothers born outside the UK and Ireland, compared to 3% of births in 2001 (700 births out of 22,000). Figures for the first half of 2010 indicate that births to mothers born outside the UK and Ireland will be at a similar level to 2009 and the School Census (2009) shows that 4,800 primary school children have a language other than English as their 'first' language.

This is 3% of the primary school pupils, and an increase on the corresponding figure (4,300) for 2008.

For post-primary school children, the increase has been from 2,100 pupils in 2008 to 2,400 pupils in 2009 (1.6% of the post-primary school population).

(BMcC/GK)

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