Almost 60 percent of Irish work force growth from Eastern Europe

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Immigration from the new European Union states continues to drive Ireland's labor growth, according to figures released by the government's statistics agency.

The Central Statistics Office has stated that during the third quarter of 2007, an estimated 341,600 foreign nationals were residing in Ireland.

Of these, 248,000 were in employment, while a further 16,200 were unemployed, according to the International Labour Organization's (ILO) criteria.

From June-August 2007, the overall growth in the labor force was 68,900 individuals. 40,600 of these were nationals from the new European Union member states that joined in 2004 and 2007.

Migrant workers from the new EU states were the fastest growing category of new workers at almost 60 percent of the total labor force growth.

Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, who joined the EU on 01 January 2007, accounted for 7,500 of the increase.

Non-EU citizens working in Ireland during the third quarter grew by 11,300 individuals.

With the exception of nationals from Bulgaria and Romania, EU citizens are free to live and work in Ireland.

Non-EU citizens must get permission to live and work in Ireland under programs such as the Irish Green Card or Irish Work Permit schemes.

During the third quarter of 2007, foreigners accounted for almost 12 percent of all persons aged 15 and over and in employment.