Ireland’s allure may be dimming for Latvian migrants

The count of Latvian residents seeking identification numbers in Ireland continued to decrease last year, according to government statistics released Jan. 6. This is perhaps an indication that the allure of the “Celtic Tiger” for Latvian migrants is wearing off as Ireland’s economy worsens.

A total of 3,727 Latvian residents were issued Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSN) in 2008, according to the Irish Department of Social and Family Affairs. That is a drop of 20 percent from 2007 and is the third year in a row that the number has decreased.

PPSNs are used in transactions between individuals and government agencies in Ireland. They were introduced in 1998.

Since mid-2000, a total of 38,786 residents of Latvia have been issued the identification numbers. The figure is perhaps the closest estimate of the total Latvian population in Ireland, although possessing a PPSN does not necessarily mean the person is still living in Ireland.

The greatest number of PPSNs issued to Latvian residents—a total of 9,328— was in 2005, the year after Latvia joined the European Union and travel to Ireland became easier. Since then the number has decreased every year.

The once-booming Irish economy has been hit hard by the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate rose throughout 2008 and stood at 7.8 percent in November.

Estonian residents were issued 572 PPSNs last year, while Lithuanians got 6,443, according to the Irish Department of Social and Family Affairs.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

3 thoughts on “Ireland’s allure may be dimming for Latvian migrants

  1. The decline is no surprise: For the migrant workers you have to pay your own plane fare, you have quotas to meet in picking, after three warnings you are sent home, you pay for your room and board. Doesn’t sound like a money making job, does it ? In the Soviet era at least they paid for your fare to Siberia. Here you pay your own!

  2. Mike, But you know these are actual ideas from people who have been there, are presently there. Just thought you’d like to know. You should be more concerned about why these people would have to go to Ireland to even earn a dollar. Obviously, you’re been living in trees too long Woody.

  3. chessman, your comments make no sense, yes, picking is hard work but people go there voluntarily, pay own accomodation, live in poor conditions and work by hard rules,… BUT they take cash home to LV by living and working in such a manner Siberia? no comparison, obviously one of the so called latvian americans who couldnt find Latvia on a world map.

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