Not all recent immigrants to Ireland are on benefits

By: Matthew Ross
December 12 2023

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Not all recent immigrants to Ireland are on benefits

(Source: X/@tuckercarlson)


The Verdict False

Public benefits in Ireland vary across different immigration categories, but unemployment payments are not accessible to all migrants.

Claim ID 2c648719


On November 23, 2023, a knife attack in Dublin city center by a reportedly foreign-born man caused riots and anti-immigration protests. American former television personality Tucker Carlson devoted the November 27 episode of his web show (archive here) on X (formerly Twitter) to the unrest, concentrating on Ireland and immigration. 

His guest was former Trump administration official and podcast host Steve Bannon, an influential figure in the trans-national far-right movement.

Bannon claimed immigrants to Ireland in the past year are “all on the public dole.” In British and Irish English, being “on the dole” means receiving money from the government due to poverty or unemployment. He stated that approximately 100,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Ireland since the start of the war, “…all on the public dole, all paid for out of the Irish budget,” adding that some money for supporting Ukrainian refugees comes from the European Union. 

Both Carlson and Bannon have previously promoted the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which alleges that sinister elites are trying to replace white populations in Europe and the U.S. with non-white foreigners. 

In fact

Migration to Ireland takes several forms, including applying for work or student visas, joining spouses or other family members, and seeking international protection or refugee status. Ukrainians in Ireland are receiving government support in various ways, but not all are taking unemployment payments. 

Ukrainians who come to Ireland can do so under the EU Temporary Protection Directive. They do not need to apply for international protection, as under this policy, Ukrainians in Ireland can look for work, access public benefits, and receive other kinds of support from the Irish state. Under this directive, Ukrainians are not “asylum seekers,” meaning applicants seeking international protection hoping to be granted refugee status.

In September 2023, the Business Post reported that 14,804 working-age Ukrainian adults (18-64) were employed, relying on provisional figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). In the most recent CSO report, Arrivals from Ukraine in Ireland Series 11, published in October, this figure was revised upward to 17,105. This report  – the most recent data as of December 2023 – stated that 36,620 of the approximately 96,338 Ukrainians in Ireland sought employment support from Intreo Public Services Employment, with more than half citing English language difficulties as a barrier to employment.

A spokesperson from the CSO told Logically Facts that as of November 16, 100,125 arrivals from Ukraine have been given Personal Public Service numbers necessary for employment and access to public services like unemployment payments. However, as some Ukrainians have left, this figure is not accurate. 

Other people from abroad seeking international protection are in Ireland’s Direct Provision system. The Irish government provides asylum seekers a place to live, free meals, medical care, and a small weekly allowance while their cases are assessed. The weekly allowance is currently €38.80 per adult and €29.80 per child. On Tuesday, December 5, the Department of Integration announced it was adding €75 to the payment for single men for whom the government cannot source accommodation. 

Until 2018, asylum seekers in Ireland were not allowed to work while their cases were being decided. Since 2021, asylum seekers have been allowed to seek work after six months without a decision. An Irish Independent article from March 2023 shared data from the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Integration showing that 63 percent of adults in Direct Provision who had been granted leave to remain were employed then. 

Not all migrants to Ireland are fleeing war or are leaving their country due to conflict or persecution. There are also several different ways a foreign person can come to live in Ireland specifically for employment, such as through the Atypical Working Scheme (for work generally less than 90 days) or the Critical Skills Employment Permit scheme, which can lead to a residence visa. 

The verdict

There are a variety of visas and permissions for foreigners to live in Ireland, some of which involve permission to work. Some Ukrainians who came to Ireland under the EU Temporary Protection Directive since the Russian invasion and those from other countries applying for refugee status are working in Ireland alongside other types of migrant workers. The claim that all recent migrants to Ireland are “on the dole” is false.

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