The Undocumented



The Migrant Rights Centre surveyed 540 undocumented migrants in Ireland for the first research of its kind.

The survey found:

81% have been here for 5 years or more
21% have been here for 10 years or more
87% are working
44% are parents
53% have 3rd-level education
– people of 29 different nationalities were surveyed, but the top 5 were Filipino, Chinese, Mauritian, Brazilian and Pakistani.
86.5% entered the country legally and subsequently became undocumented

The research also estimates that “there are between 20,000-26,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland at the moment – including thousands of children”.

1 in 5 Undocumented Migrants Living in Ireland for Over 10 Years – New Research (Migrant Rights Centre)

Migrant Rights Centre

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28 thoughts on “The Undocumented

  1. Starina

    Very interesting stats — would have thought Filipinos were mostly legal, as most that I’ve met have been medical staff.

    I worked for about a year at a restaurant staffed half by refugees and half by undocumented workers — they work their *sses off, take a lot of abuse from customers and are certainly not paid very well (sometimes below minimum wage).

    Tip your waiter :)

  2. Here

    Tip my waiter…ie. Give them my money because there are here illegally and their employer hires them anyway and pays them less than minimum wage?
    I think not, sir. Tipping in this country is nonsense. I will never feel obliged to tip, and only will if I get outstanding service.

      1. Here

        I suppose I went on a tangent about tipping practices. My point really was that it isn’t the customers responsibility to buffer the wages of illegal workers, employed for less than minimum wage.

  3. Hashtag Diversity

    Meanwhile, Kenny yelling to Obama about the 50K white English speaking Irish undocumented, living illegally in the U.S. Such hypocrisy.

    1. Formerly known as

      Exactly. Irish people know what it is like to be undocumented. We should be leaders in recognising people who are contributing to our society. Obama has shown how it can be done. Let’s do the same here.

    2. ahjayzis


      It’s cringifying.

      I don’t think I even have any sympathy for Irish undocumented in the US – not being able to visit family for 15 years etc. That says more about the person than the law (which is bust), since it’s not 1850’s famine they’d be returning to. Scarlet for us with our whole “Please don’t force our emigrants to come back to our hellhole!” shtick.

    3. Liberté Capillaire

      It is so good to read your message. I have been appalled by the way media have been covering the two issues without linking them. It would be very interesting to compare the narratives between the good Irish illegal migrants and the dirty mostly coloured, lazy and delinquent migrants here… There is no extreme right wing party in Ireland but the flavour is here…

    1. Nigel

      You CANNOT have the leader of the country engaging in special pleading for Irish illegals in the US while simultaneously denying illegals in Ireland a similar amount of leeway. It’s just staggeringly stupid. At least keep the gormless hypocrisy to a background hum, if you must have it at all.

      1. ahyeah

        Using the Irish experience in other countries as a standard might bring up some inconvenient dimensions. I’ve been a documented, legal alien in the US, Spain, Australia and the UK. Only in the UK was I treated as an equal to citizens – everywhere else there are still limitations on you: access to healthcare, social welfare and education, for starters. As far as I can see, the UK is the only place that treats us (Irish) with full respect and dignity.

        1. realPolithicks

          I don’t know about your experience in other countries, but you are incorrect about the US. I have lived in the US for 27 years, first illegally, the as a resident alien, and now as a naturalized citizen. The only time I did not have access to the items you listed was when I was illegal. I listened to a report on “Morning Ireland” today and they had a couple of people explaining their experience living illegally in Ireland over the past 11 years or so. They have suffered the same abuse and indignities that Irish people have suffered in the US. Ireland should lead they way on this issue by regularizing the status of the undocumented people currently living in Ireland.

      1. Nigel

        I beg your pardon, rhetoric got the better of me. Clearly you CAN do all sorts of things. As for what’s expected of this government, let’s not, as they say, succumb to the soft bigotry of low expectations. Each day brings the gift of some bright new brass-neckery to amaze and delight.

        1. Nigel

          (Sorry Janet, misread your comment, thought it was directed at me. Let he who is without gormlesness cast the first stone.)

  4. Kieran NYC

    Still cracks me up that half the soccer team can be born in another country and are still ‘Irish’, whereas some unfortunate child born in Cork to foreign parents isn’t.

    That fuppin’ referendum.

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