From ‘boom to bust’
Polish migrants in the Irish labour market
in New mobilities in Europe
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This chapter locates mass migration from Poland in the broader Irish labour market context at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It shows how an unprecedented economic boom in conjunction with an open labour market policy in 2004 triggered large-scale migration from Poland and elsewhere. Ireland’s ‘goldrush’ labour market was able to integrate large-scale migrant flows without leading to major displacement of local workers. However, in the context of ‘light’ labour market regulation, incidents of migrant worker underpayment occurred which became an issue of concern in particular for the Irish trade union movement. In 2008, the country was hit by an unprecedented economic crisis and rising unemployment. However, in spite of the dramatically changed economic circumstances, Ireland is still host to a substantial foreign population as the mass migration that ensured post-2004 is likely to leave a lasting impact on the workplace and wider society.

New mobilities in Europe

Polish migration to Ireland post-2004

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