RIGA - Despite worsening employment prospects for guest workers from Latvia and other Baltic states in Ireland, Latvian emigres are largely opting to remain abroad.
Unlike their Polish and Lithuanian counterparts, many of whom have returned in droves, Latvians in Ireland have said they are unconcerned with the economic situation, citing extensive government unemployment support as the main factor for staying, even though jobs are unavailable.
In Ireland, those looking for work have found many opportunities 's especially for jobs requiring very little qualifications. Emigres earning even the smallest wages can still support their families as well as receive government support.
The International Monetary Fund predicts that Ireland's recovery from the economic crisis will be slow and heavy, the state's domestic products from 2008-2010 will decrease by 13.5 percent, but starting around 2011 will start growing at about 1 percent.
Those staying in Ireland 's working there officially and paying taxes 's are confident that even if they remain without work there is no chance that they will be left to fend for themselves.
The majority of locals and guest workers are not worried about the threat of reduced social security. Those that are working illegally however, may be affected. According to local Irish sources, the number of illegal immigrants, including Latvians, is high and gets higher the more unemployment grows.
Latvia's Diena newspaper is currently conducting an in depth study of the working situation in Ireland and have found that almost no one has thoughts of returning home. Head of the Latvian-Irish bureau Alvils Reinbergs said that he does not know anyone who has left Ireland.
"Those that have worked here already some time have a family, for example, those who moved to Ireland with their wife and children. From the first days they were receiving government support for their children," said Reinbergs
Latvian circles in Ireland, told The Baltic Times that it isn't that people aren't leaving, they just aren't going back to Latvia. Canada, Australia and England are the top choices for immigration.
"I have been thinking of going to Canada to work, some of my friends have already gone," said Elita Stromberga, a waitress at a hotel in south Dublin.
Janis, who has worked in Ireland already 10 years, told those conducting the study that the government was the biggest factor in not returning
"In listening to the news and reading the papers, Latvians can't even have thoughts of returning to their homeland. Because as it is, Ireland cares about its' people, locals and foreigners alike, they don't allow them to starve, while in Latvia, leaders are doing everything so that this small nation of people dies out," said Janis.
Lilita from Riga said that "it is commendable what they are doing, because if all of them suddenly returned to the homeland, [as the Poles are doing] then there would be a pretty b
However, despite optimism from Latvian guest workers, the situation is not as bright for everyone. One of the victims of the crisis is the Latvian Embassy in Dublin, which because of financial woes will not be able to fund a new embassy.
Latvian Ambassador to Ireland Indulis Abelis had previously said that he hoped the new embassy would be purchased by this summer. A new building has been found in downtown Dublin, but due to financial constraints, Abelis said they will have to remain in their "small and uncomfortable rental space."