Get access

The Immigrant Earnings Disadvantage across the Earnings and Skills Distributions: The Case of Immigrants from the EU's New Member States


  • Alan Barrett and Séamus McGuinness are at the Economic and Social Research Institute. Martin O'Brien is at the Central Bank of Ireland.


We analyse the earnings of immigrants from the EU's new member states (NMS) using a large-scale dataset with information on employees in Ireland. We find that the average earnings difference between these immigrants and natives is between 10 and 18 per cent, depending on the controls used. However, the difference is found to be lower for people at the lower end of the earnings distribution. It is also generally lower for people at the lower end of the education distribution. We find mixed evidence on whether unions have an impact on the wages of immigrants from the NMS, although such immigrants appear to suffer a wage penalty as a result of being in firms that provided training to a significant proportion of their workforce.