The average age of Irish emigrants has risen according to new statistics which show that thirty-somethings are leading the exodus from the economically crippled country.

The Irish Independent reports that the average age of those applying for visas to places like Australia and Canada has risen from 29 to 32 years.

The latest data also signifies that significantly more men than women are emigrating.

The company which specializes in migration issues said the numbers of people leaving is increasing year on year.

The report says that applications for second year Australian visas rose by 36 per cent in 2012, showing that emigrants want to stay in the country.

The number of applications for Canadian work permits was 16 per cent greater last year than in 2011, while permanent residency applications more than doubled according to the Independent.

The new figures show the ratio of men to women remains at 60:40, while the average age of visa applicants has risen from 29 to 32 years, figures from the company’s Irish database show. boss Edwina Shanahan said: “The increase in the average age is interesting as it’s quite a big jump. The difficult work environment in Ireland is a primary driver here.

“It’s not just affecting the young and newly qualified - it’s taking its toll of people of all ages and all levels of expertise.”

She added: “The age jump may also have something to do with the fact that spousal applications are also on the rise.

“The number of spousal applications for Australia doubled last year. More and more families are seeing emigration as a better, if not their only, financially viable option.”

The report says the figures from 2012 highlight the growing level of interest from trades and professions including teachers, welders, solicitors, mechanics and IT workers. say there has also been a noted increase in applications from articulated truck drivers because they are now in such high demand in Canada.

Shanahan said: “The interest from people in various occupations often changes depending on the demand for those occupations in certain countries.

“In addition, a fall in interest might simply reflect the fact that a sizable portion of these people have already left the country - for example, while we saw large numbers of architects leaving in 2011 and 2010 - this figure has dropped almost 80pc in 12 months.

“Similarly, applications from electrician and plumbers looking to work in Oz are down 20pc as many of them are already working out there.”

She added: “The hotel and catering sector is an interesting one - we have actually seen a growth in employment opportunities for people here in Ireland.

“However, the demand for people with experience in this industry is so great in other countries that the salaries offered in Ireland cannot compete.

“When you consider the offer of AUS$60,000 starting in Western Australia coupled with the quality of living on offer, it is often a no-brainer for many young qualified chefs.”

The report says permanent residency applications relating to New Zealand are similar to previous years while there has been a slight increase in working holiday visas.

VisaFirst lists the top five occupation groups to leave Ireland last year as tradespeople, engineers, hotel and catering professionals, accountants and mechanics.