Flow of Latvian migrants to Ireland appears in 2011 to have slowed again

The number of new immigrants from Latvia settling in Ireland appears to have dropped by nearly 30 percent last year compared to 2010, suggest data compiled by government authorities.

Last year, a total of 2,195 persons from Latvia registered for Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSNs), which are used in Ireland for various transactions with the government, according to the Department of Social Protection in Dublin.

The decrease continues a general trend in the number of Latvian residents filing for PPSNs during the past several years. While PPSN registrations are not a direct marker of the number of immigrants, they generally are considered to represent trends.

Declining economic conditions in Ireland in the past two years have slowed the flow of migrants from Eastern Europe.

The number of people from Latvia who filed for PPSNs exploded in 2004 after the country joined the European Union, easing the flow of labor across borders. That year, 6,266 persons from Latvia filed for PPSNs, a fourfold increase over 2003.

In 2005, the number of PPSN registrations Latvia peaked at 9,328. Every year since then the numbers have dropped—except in 2009 when the figure increased by 5 percent over 2008.

Since 2000, according to the Department of Social Protection data, a total of 48,031 PPSNs have been issued to persons from Latvia.

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