\"87,000

87,000 people left the country in the year to April 2012 - more than 200 people a day emigrated, figures not recorded since the Famine. Photo by: Photocall

Year ends with emigration from Ireland highest since Famine times

\"87,000

87,000 people left the country in the year to April 2012 - more than 200 people a day emigrated, figures not recorded since the Famine. Photo by: Photocall

Emigration from Ireland is now at levels not seen since the Famine, according to a new report.

The Irish Independent reports that 87,000 people left the country in the year to April 2012.

The paper says that more than 200 people a day emigrated, figures not recorded since the Famine.

The report also says that the scale of the exodus is such that it has dented Ireland’s baby boom as so many young women have left.

The new figure is three times the emigration numbers recorded during the Celtic Tiger boom.

Britain attracted the largest number of Irish immigrants at 16,000 in the period studied.

Permanent migrants from Ireland to Australia soared by 33 per cent to 4,938 in a year.

Ireland is now one of the top 10 source countries for migration to Australia.

The report adds that the number of Irish availing of temporary work permits and working holiday visas in 2012 is likely to be on a par with the previous year’s tally of 21,753.

New Zealand awarded 4,564 Irish people  work visas for the 2011/12 tax year, up nearly 40pc on four years ago.

Another 2,199 Irish citizens were granted work visas to New Zealand between July 1 and December 1, 2012.

The owner of Dublin-based migration company, Visafirst, Edwina Shanahan, told the Irish Independent that there is a huge amount of country-hopping by Irish people in the Australia/ New Zealand region.

She said: “So many are on temporary work visas or working holiday visas that last for a year, so when that is up they look to go to the other country if they can’t find a way of staying longer.”

Canada’s economic boom has made it one of the hotspots of Irish emigration with a fresh round of visas set to open for skilled trades people in the building sector.

The paper says some 5,293 temporary work visas were issued to Irish people last year, up 42 per cent on 2010, while another 662 got permanent status.

Vancouver-based relocation expert Ruairi Spillane said the western towns of Calgary and Edmonton are growing rapidly to challenge Toronto and Vancouver as favoured destinations for Irish emigrants.

The Kerry native revealed he’d been getting so many requests from Canadian construction companies looking for Irish workers that he quit his job last summer to set up moving2Canada.com.

Spillane said: “The mood is really positive in general. I love it here and I’m pretty sure most Irish people enjoy their time, though homesickness is an issue for many as it’s a long way from home.”

The United States granted some 17,143 Irish people and their families temporary work permits while another 1,533 obtained permanent resident status according to the US Office of Immigration Statistics for 2011.

The US figures were up from around 14,000 the previous year.

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