A European Commission report on migrant workers, to be published today, shows that among the member states, Ireland has the highest percentage of workers from the ten new European Union states in its workforce.

However, overall it shows that non-Irish nationals as a percentage of the workforce is the same in Ireland as the rest of the original EU 15.

The commission is expected to urge other states to follow Ireland's example and end restrictions on the movement of workers from the ten new states.

When the new states joined the EU, the 15 old states were allowed to restrict the number of migrant workers coming from eastern Europe for up to seven years. Twelve chose to do this, mainly through a work permit system.

Ireland, Britain and Sweden opted to open their labour markets immediately.

Reviewing the first two years of the transition to a fully open labour market across the EU, the European Commission claims the predicted flood of workers from eastern Europe has not materialised.

It says the flows have been so small that they have not affected the EU labour market, and calls on states to seriously consider if restrictions are really necessary.

It says the work permit system is encouraging migrant workers to operate in the black economy.

It says Ireland, Britain and Sweden have benefited from their open systems, as the migrant workers are operating above board, and are thus more easily regulated.