Canada is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Irish emigrants wishing to escape Ireland’s crippling economic downturn.
Recently a crowd of 300 turned up at an emigrant’s advice night in Toronto held at an Irish pub.
The latest figures from Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) estimate that almost 1,000 people are leaving Ireland each week.
Many of these are young, highly educated people who are desperate to find gainful employment abroad, and it seems a significant majority are relocating to Canada.
"Worldwide, (Canada) is looking like the superstar of how to manage your economy," Eamonn O'Loghlin, executive director of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce told the “National Post.”
"So you have all these young, educated, highly skilled people in Ireland who are suddenly in a situation where there are very few jobs. They're looking around and they see how Canada has come through the recession and they see more opportunity here," he added.
The strong economy and varied city life on offer make Canada an attractive destination for immigrants seeking a year abroad or a fresh start.
“I have a network of friends around the world ... because everyone has left," said Brian Reynolds, who recently settled there.
"If we could sort out the economy soon, and make it so jobs are increasing rather than decreasing, then I think we can get all the people back very quickly," he said. "I do have a lot of friends taking a few years out, letting Ireland get back on its feet, and they'll be back there to set up family and have kids."
Attaining a one-year visa for Canada is much less complicated and more cost effective in comparison to the U.S. Testament to this, the number of temporary workers coming to Canada from Ireland has doubled in the past five years alone.
These visas allow citizens of Ireland between the age of 18 and 35 to work in Canada for up to two years. In the coming year Canada plans to issue 5,000 of these visas to Irish citizens. In 2009 Canada offered 4,000 holiday visas but granted an extra 300 because of the demand.
"Canada's stock around the world has grown very, very considerably in the recent economic crisis and there has definitely been a big surge in immigration," said Ray Bassett, Ireland's ambassador to Canada.
"We'd prefer if our people didn't have to move, but they do at the moment because there isn't enough jobs and we're going through an economic downtown. The worst thing in the world would be if we didn't face up to that fact."
"The numbers have changed, and probably the complexity of the migrants have changed," Bassett added.
"There's probably a broader sweep of the socio-economic group than I would say there was in the past."
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