Graduates in Dublin protest the lack of employment and need to emigrate by the Famine Ship, Jeanie Johnston in DublinJeanie Johnston

New studies have shown that Ireland’s emigration situation has reached crisis levels with 76,400 people immigrating during 2011 and another 75,000 expect to leave in 2012.

Figures reported by and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) show that the numbers of Irish immigrating to the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia are continuing to increase.

These studies showed that in the 11 months leading up to December 2011 the United States issued 17,755 non-immigrant visas to Irish citizens. This is a 22 percent increase from 2010.  According to the ERSI at least 1,700 of these people emigrated however the number who slipped into an illegal status cannot be calculated.

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Similar figures can be seen in other countries popular with the Irish. Over the same 11 months leading up to December 2011 the number of visas being issued to the Irish abroad increased.

Here’s a breakdown of those figures in the six most popular countries:

24,000 - Austrlia
11,000 - UK
4,444 - New Zealand
3,462 - Canada
1,700 - United States
600 - Germany

The studies found a 56 percent increase in the number of UK national insurance numbers issued to the Irish over the past year.

The number of temporary Irish residents now living in Australia increased by almost 33 percent in 2011 and in Canada the number of visas issued increased by 50 percent.

New Zealand’s figures showed that every month another 400 Irish immigrants arrive.

Philip O'Connell, research professor at the ESRI, said using the data to create projections it can be expected that at least another 75,000 people will emigrate in 2012. O’Connell cites the poor labor market (unemployment of 14.5 percent) and the country’s economic situation as the main factors for emigration.

In comparison to the “brain drain” of the 1980s this situation is far more serious. Although the population of Ireland in 1989 was slightly lower the number of people who left Ireland was only 44,000.