New findings from Ireland's Central Statistics Office show that the population of Ireland is falling. The main cause is a general slowing of immigration into the country coupled with increased emigration of Irish citizens to countries such as Australia.
The total number of immigrants into Ireland in the year to April 2008 was 83,800. This was 26,000 less than the previous year. During the same period, the number of emigrants increased marginally to 45,300 over the previous period in 2007.
Immigrants from the European Union showed the sharpest decline in numbers, after experiencing a strong surge in immigration since 2004.
Ireland was one of only a few member states to immediately open its labor market to the 10 EU nations that joined the 27-member bloc in 2004. However, improving labor wages and economies in these citizens' home countries are persuading many people to remain at home.
Of the 19,800 Irish citizens who immigrated to what the statistics called the "Rest of the world" (countries outside the EU, the USA, and the United Kingdom), 11,300 are estimated to have immigrated to 'Australia and Oceania'. Australia has recently become a popular destination for migrant workers due to its liberal skilled immigration policies.