Dr Johanne Devlin Trew (Ulster) – 'Lost generations'? Taking the longer view on Northern Ireland migration

Between 2004 and 2008, immigration to Northern Ireland rose to unprecedented numbers and the issue of how the newcomers could be accommodated here became a 'struggle' for local authorities and featured prominently in the local media. Since then, however, immigration has declined significantly to the point where by 2012, Northern Ireland net migration figures were once again in the negative (more people departing than arriving). In fact, apart from the recent short-term immigration anomaly, the predominant context for migration relating to Northern Ireland since 1921 has overwhelmingly been emigration; this largely driven by youth unemployment, labour market structure, lack of inward investment, and on-going sectarianism. Though as some would point out, Northern Ireland does not control its own migration policy, governance at the local level nevertheless creates a climate that either encourages or discourages migration. In addition, UK policy and global economic conditions are influential. This presentation will provide an overview of migration trends and data relating to Northern Ireland, from its establishment to the most recent statistics.

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