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Foreign workers in Europe most hit by financial crisis

10-30-2010 10:18 BJT

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The current recession affecting most of Europe has reduced the inflow of immigrants. Many foreign workers are returning to their home countries as job opportunities decline and unemployment rises. Those who stay face a reduction of social benefits and in same cases discrimination.

Ireland is one of the European countries to be most affected by the economic crisis. The Celtic Tiger is sick with a banking sector that ruined the public finances through costly bailouts, while a the decade long construction boom came to an abrupt end. Immigrants are the worst affected, as they are more likely to lose their jobs than the Irish.

The Polish form still the biggest foreign community in the country with over 80.000 residents.

Kristof, a social worker, introduces us to the Sobieski family which came to Dublin 5 years ago. Emil, a plumber, is now jobless, so he and his two children depend on her wife’s income. Bogumila works as nurse and wants to stay in Ireland despite the hard times.

In Ireland, legal immigrants who lose their jobs can get unemployment benefits to survive the downturn, as well as free training to recycle their skills and get a new job, but to come back to the labor market foreigners have now to face a fierce competition from Irish nationals.

With over 25 billion euros devoted to rescue the banking sector, the Irish state has an empty pocket and for social policies, so they will soon lack the funds to assist the unemployed, let alone the immigrants. The NGOs devoted to help immigrants in their integration to the Irish society are feeling the pinch.

Emilia Marchelewska, Advocacy Officer, said,“What we see now with every budget introduced here every year is that the amount of social welfare people are getting is lower, so we will see that the social benefits will be reduced.”

And what about the Chinese community? From the 50.000 Chinese residents in Ireland around 40% are preparing a come back to their mother land. The crisis hit their companies be it restaurants or import-export businesses.

Ziwen Qu, Business Consultant, said, Emilia Marchelewska, Health Advocacy Officer“We have difficulties to get financial support from the banks, that's the most difficult problem. Also, they are not familiar with the laws and regulations in this country. Also the don't have much network, contacts in this country, this also affects their sales network.”

Karen Birch, Ireland, said, "The immigration tide that arrived to Europe in the boom years has now become a trickle. With rampant unemployment everywhere and hostility to foreigners in some places, foreigners in search of a brighter future are now looking to the more promising emerging countries."


Editor:Yang Jie |Source: CNTV.CN

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