Migrants and Ethnic Minorities


Union Migrant NetThe ETUC led UnionMigrantNet portal is now ready and full operational. Following a Network Building Conference in Turin in 2014, and after one year of pilot action and testing phase, the network is now open to all those who wish to join it. The portal is composed of two sections:

1. a “social network” of trade union contact points for migrants: Access is subject to registration.

2. a “migrants” section available to migrant population who need to get with a contact point.

Unions are invited you to join the network registering your contact point or just participating as an expert.

As many other websites, registration is subject to several conditions and restrictions. The most important is that you need an authorised emails address to finalise the registration procedure. For assistance, call or write to the help-desk point at the ETUC via phone (tel. +3222240521) or email Marco Cilento

Integration Policy

Our submission on the development of a new integration policy (June 2014) to the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Department of Justice and Equality. We also presented this to a meeting of a subcommittee of the Cross Departmental Group on Integration in July.

Migrant Worker Organising video by SIPTU

Congress - towards a strategy of integration of migrant workers into trade unions

Kasia and Minister Lynch at Equality Launch-19 (627x800)Kasia Garbal (NICICTU) with Minister Kathleen Lynch (Pic John Chaney)This resource takes a look at good practice examples of trade union engagement with migrant workers with a view to developing learning for the integration of Migrants into trade unions. (Issuu book version here)

Congress Guidelines on combatting racism and promoting interculturalism

Our submission on integration (June 2014)

See also research by Robbie McVeigh, "Migrant Workers and their Families in NI"

Leaflet on myths about migrant workers available here

ICTU MIgrant Support unit in N.Irl here

Publication cover - I came here for_Layout 1Cover image for I came here for_Layout 1The Northern Ireland Congress of Trade Unions, supported by the Equality Commission and the Community Relations Council, has launched guidance and a video for trade unions to raise awareness about race equality and to encourage the development of strategies to achieve equality for workers and customers in a diverse Northern Ireland. Click here for the project booklet. The trade union and community guide available here.

Its not how they should treat People - Migrants and workplace in Northern Ireland (2014)

Read about the work of the Migrant Workers Support Unit, established in 2007, supporting vulnerable workers to ensure equal access to their rights at work here

Other trade union sites/resources:

Organising for change and equality: Mushroom workers in Ireland: SIPTU and the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) empower hundreds of migrant women in forced labour on mushroom farms. Women were working in extremely bad conditions, were paid €4 per hour and had no time off to cash cheques or to buy food. SIPTU and MRCI united workers to change slavery like working conditions. The project was supported by the Mainstreaming Unit of the Equality Authority. More here, including video footage.

SIPTU Cleaners Organising Campaign

PSEU Survey of members and Pamphlet "Lets root out Racism"

CWU guidelines

INMO overseas nurses section

TUC and Race Equality

The TUC campaigns for race equality in the workplace and in the wider community.

European Trade Union Confederation

ETUC on equal treatment of migrant and ethnic minroity workers in Europe


ITUC on Racism and Xenophobia

ILO Migrant

ILO's international migration programme

Integrated Workplaces

An Action strategy to support Integrated Workplaces was a social partner initiative organised by representatives of Congress, IBEC, the Small Firms Association, the Construction Industry Federation, Chambers Ireland, the Office of the Minister for Integration and the Equality Authority. Funding for this strategy has been provided by the Office of the Minister for Integration and the Equality Authority.

A Strategy to Assist You:

to manage a culturally diverse workplace,
to contribute to and develop an integrated workplace.

In 2010/2011, Congress developed guidelines towards a strategy on integrating migrants and ethnic minorities into trade unions and ran a challenge fund for affiliate union initiatives in this area.

Useful links on migration, ethnic minorities and race issues:

CSO figures and Quarterly national household survey figures on non-Irish nationals

Population and Migration Estimates, April 2010

In it's September 2010 release, figures show a return to net emigration and that the number of immigrants from the EU12 States is estimated at 5,800
in the year to April 2010, representing a continuing decline from the peak of 52,700 in the year ending April 2007

Number of non-Irish nationals in the labour force declines by almost 30,000 (June 2009)

According to (page 4) the latest (June 09) quarterly national household survey, there were an estimated 462,300 non-Irish nationals aged 15 years and over in the State in the first quarter of 2009, a decrease of 20,800 or 4.3%.This compares with an increase of 55,200 or 12.9% in the first quarter of 2008. The estimated number of non-Irish nationals in the labour force was 336,400, a decrease of 29,700 over the year. An increase of 38,000 had been recorded in the year to Q12008. The ESRI has now warned that the "vastly changed" economic situation may impact on the attitude of Irish nationals to immigrants, giving rise to fears that they may be subjected to racist abuse such as that experienced by the Romanian community in the North last week. Read more about the labour market and recession.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2011

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concludes seventy-eighth session issued Concluding Observations on the Report of Ireland yesterday (11 March 2011) following its examination of the combined third and fourth periodic reports of the Government. ( See all reports and shadow reports submitted here)The Committee noted with appreciation the establishment of the new Office of the Minister for Integration before going on to "note with regret that the economic recession threatened to reverse the achievements that had been made in Ireland's efforts to combat racial discrimination at all levels. The Committee expressed grave concern over the disproportionate budgets cuts to various human rights institutions mandated to promote and monitor human rights such as the Irish Human Rights Commission, the Equality Authority and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism". The Committee recommended that Ireland ensure that, notwithstanding the current economic recession, enhanced efforts were made to protect individuals from racial discrimination. The Committee recommended that budget cuts for human rights bodies should not result in the stifling of their activities to effectively monitor the protection of human rights and particularly racial discrimination. They also reiterated therecommendation made in its previous concluding observations on the principle of self identification that the State party should continue to engage with the Traveller community and work concretely towards recognising Travellers as an ethnic group. ENAR reaction here and also see Media coverage here

European Migration Network

The aim of the European Migration Network (EMN) is to provide up-to-date, objective, reliable and comparable information on migration and asylum at Member State and EU-level with a view to supporting policymaking and informing the general public. The European Migration Network is represented in each Member State by a National Contact Point (EMN NCP). EMN Ireland is the Irish National Contact Point of the European Migration Network and is located in the Economic and Social Research Institute. Conference presentations from EMN Ireland's research conference 'Labour Market, the Crisis and Migration' (19 November 2010).

Issues and challenges in recruitment and selection of migrant workers

New research entitled "Issues and Challenges in the Recruitment and Selection of Immigrant Workers in Ireland" has been published by the Public Appointments Service. The report takes into account the experiences of job seekers from a range of minority ethnic groups, examines their experiences of seeking employment in Ireland and identifies particular challenges/barriers that they have encountered, including a lack of information in relation to the job search process, a perceived preference amongst employers for Irish experience and references and difficulties in demonstrating equivalence of qualifications. The report also highlighted the different views that immigrant job seekers and employers often had in relation to the selection process and the extent to which it was open and fair. The report has been welcomed by the Office of the Minister for Integration

Website of the Office of the Minister for Integration

Minister John Curran, T.D., today (June 25th) launched the website of the Office of the Minister for Integration. The website will highlight the work of the Office and inform migrants and interested stakeholders of developments in integration and diversity management taking place at a national and international level. It will also provide information on European and national funding streams managed by the Office, provide links to relevant national and international websites and be a key source of information for migrants.The launch coincides with the recent launch of the European Web Site on Integration by the European Commission. This website has a documentary library, "best practice" content, country information on integration of Third Country Nationals from across Europe, and will build an online community of integration practitioners.

Free movement of workers in an enlarged EU

On the occasion of the enlargement of 1 May 2004, Ireland opened its labour market to workers from the 10 new accession states. 12 of 15 'old' Member States introduced transitional measures. Before 1 May 2009 the Council will have to review the functioning of the transitional provisions on the basis of a Commission report. This report was published in November 2008. In the meantime, the situation has considerably changed. Not only have Romania and Bulgaria entered the EU, with separate timetables for possible transitional measures. Also, a financial and economic crisis of almost unprecedented scope is sweeping over the world, and does not leave the EU and its expanding internal market and labour markets untouched. See the Resolution adopted by the Steering Committee of the ETUC Brussels, 28 April 2009

Back in February 2009, pictures of strikers at the Lindsey oil refinery carrying placards saying 'British Jobs for British Workers' attracted media interest across Europe. What were the real issues raised by the disput?. The sense of helplessness workers feel when faced with a global recession; ending the unfairness of the Posted Workers Directive; and tackling the inequities of the contracting system, so that contracting work out isn't simply an exercise in reducing workers' pay and conditions. Read more in an article by Greg Thomson, UNISON

ESRI Research into racial discrimination in recruitment

ESRI research, commissioned by the Equality Authority, has found that Job applicants with identifiably non-Irish names are less than half as likely to be called for interview as those with typical Irish names. The experiment was carried out between March and October 2008. Compared with similar experiments carried out in other countries, the level of discrimination recorded for Ireland is high.

Immigrants at Work

Immigrants at Work' (2008) by Philip J. O'Connell and Frances McGinnity is the first systematic baseline study that examines labour market experiences of migrants in Ireland distinguished by ethnicity. It investigates both objective labour market outcomes such as occupational status and wages, and respondents own subjective assessment of their experiences. It makes use of the first and, apart from the 2006 Census, only representative Irish data sources to include information on ethnicity - the special module of the Quarterly National Household Survey conducted by the Central Statistics Office in 2004 and the ESRI Survey of Migrant Experiences of Racism and Discrimination in Ireland in 2005.

IMI Bizlab on Cultural Diversity

The IMI Cultural Diversity Bizlab is a learning network of HR practitioners, researchers and educators. It has brought together a dynamic and proactive group of people who have been meeting regularly to exchange experiences and explore the challenges and opportunities presented by a culturally diverse workforce.

European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS) - survey results (22/04/2009)

While the composition of Member States' populations is becoming increasingly diverse, Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) reports have consistently shown that there is a lack of data on ethnic minorities in many countries. Therefore, the FRA conducted a major representative survey (executed by GALLUP), interviewing selected ethnic minority and immigrant groups in all of the 27 Member States of the EU. The survey examined experiences of discriminatory treatment, racist crime, victimisation, awareness of rights, and reporting of complaints. This is the first ever EU-wide survey of ethnic minority and immigrant groups' experiences of discrimination and victimisation in everyday life.

Work Permits

Congress submission on the work permit scheme (March 2009).

Durban Review Conference

The Durban Review Conference was held in Geneva from 20 - 24th of April 2009.

Trade Unions were well represented at the conference and issued a statement in advance. See also Decent Work has no Colour statement by ITUC and Global Unions

Representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Minister for Integration actively participated in the Conference and H.E. Mr. Daithi O' Ceallagh, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, Geneva, delivered a national statement.. The Conference itself did not pass without some controversy. However, notwithstanding the incident surrounding the statement of the Iranian President on the first day, the Conference was deemed a success with a relatively strong consensual final document adopted. Calling the successful result "a platform for a new beginning," High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in her final statement urged all to implement vigorously the outcome document. The High Commissioner also stated that the focus is now on implementation. The Office of the Minister for Integration is examining this outcome document and will be in contact in due course with relevant civil society actors to discuss next steps.


Akidwa (Akina Dada wa Africa - AkiDwA; Swahili for sisterhood) is an authoritative, minority ethnic-led national network of African and migrant women living in Ireland. The non-governmental organisation with charitable status was established in August 2001 by a group of African women to address the needs of an expanding population of African and migrant women resident in Ireland. The organisation is a recognised authoritative and representative body for migrant women, irrespective of their national/ethnic background, tradition, religious beliefs, socio-economic or legal status. AkiDwA's advocacy approach is based on a gender perspective and the organisation promotes an equal society, free of racism, discrimination and stereotyping. AkiDwA's advocacy approach is based on strengthening migrant women's voice, applying a gender perspective to policies and practices and the promotion of equality of migrant women in Irish society, free of gender and racial stereotyping.


Congress greatly regrets the short sighted decision by government to close the NCCRI down in 2009.

Trinity Immigration Initiative

Congress sat on the advisory group of the Migrant Careers and Aspirations project of the TCD Initiative.


The Immigrant Council of Ireland;

Migrant Rights Centre;

Show Racism the Red Card;

ENAR Ireland

Traveller issues.