January 10, 2011
The count of persons from Latvia registering for new identification numbers in Ireland dropped nearly 25 percent from 2009 to 2010, suggesting that the flow of immigrants has slowed.
Data compiled by Ireland’s Department of Social Protection show that a total of 3,134 persons from Latvia last year obtained Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSN), substantially fewer than the 3,916 in 2009. However, the data are not a true measure of immigration to Ireland.
The PPSN is an identifier used by individuals in their dealings with various Irish state institutions.
Since 2000, a total of 45,836 PPSNs have been issued to persons from Latvia. During the four years from 2000-2003, the total PPSNs issued to persons from Latvia reached 6,837. After Latvia joined the European Union in 2004, easing travel restrictions for guest workers, the number of new PPSNs jumped significantly. In 2005 alone, residents of Latvia accounted for 9,328 of the new PPSNs issued that year.
From 2005-2008, a steady decline in new PPSNs was observed, although the number jumped 5 percent from 2008-2009 as the economic crisis in Latvia began to unfold.
In all, more than 154,000 persons obtained new PPSNs last year in Ireland, a 7 percent drop from 2009. Ireland, which for several years saw rapid economic growth that lured tens of thousands of new immigrants, also has suffered an economic decline.
Last year just 207 persons from Estonia sought PPSNs, a more than 50 percent drop from 2009. Meanwhile, 4,353 persons from Lithuania last year obtained the identification numbers, a 15 percent increase over 2009.