There has been a 70% decrease in the number of foreign nationals seeking work in Ireland since 2006, according to statistics from the Central Statistics Office.

There were 226,800 Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) allocations in 2006, compared to just 67,500 last year.

The figures are contained in a study of foreign nationals and their engagement in employment and social welfare between 2006 and 2011.

The statistics also show that only 27% of those given PPSN numbers in 2006 were still working or on social welfare in Ireland by last year.

Over 1m PPSN numbers have been issued since 2002, with just over 300,000 still in the system.

The biggest drop in new arrivals was from the EU accession states, with numbers down from 65,700 in 2009 to 17,400 in 2011.

British nationals continue to account for the highest number of allocations since 2009, reflecting the drop in the number of allocations from Polish nationals.