Black African immigrants are four times more likely to be unemployed than white Irish adults, new research shows.

The findings published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Equality Authority, show there are high levels of discrimination in Ireland among the Republic's ethnic minorities.

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The data was collated from the responses of 17,000 people who were interviewed by the Central Statistics Office a little over two years ago.

According to the research black Africans are seven times more likely than white Irish people to report instances of discrimination when looking for employment and in the world place.

White people from the UK and the 13 older EU member-states escape what the authors call "significant rates" of workplace discrimination.

The authors called for a planned public policy to integrate immigrants.

Phillip O'Connell, who is also the director of the Geary Institute in UCD, told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the discrimination in the workplace is a permanent feature of Irish society.

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He said in Ireland the two groups that stand out are black Africans and EU citizens of black or Asian ethnicity.

"Being visibly different in Ireland does hurt, in terms of your labour market prospects and you are more likely to experience discrimination.

"But Black Africans are much, much higher than anybody else who is visibly different.

"We looked into the data to try to figure out what's going on there. And one of the things we found was that most of the black Africans who are in our survey were actually there since the early 2000s.

"Now, then most of them would have come in as asylum seekers. And I think what we are seeing is the long run effects of an asylum system which consigns people to a direct provision system so that they are cut off from society and that doesn't allow them to work."

Black Africans suffer highest levels of work discrimination in IrelandJohn Birdsall/John Birdsall/Press Association Images