The latest emigration forecasts suggest that 120,000 people will leave Ireland by the end of 2011.
With the unemployment rate not dipping below 13 percent, the numbers of people emigrating in search of employment during 2010 matched similar levels seen in the 1980s.
In the 12 months leading up to April of 2010, over 65,000 people left Ireland, a similar level to the 70,600 people who emigrated in 1989, when unemployment stood at 18 percent. It is expected emigration levels will continue to rise in the new year as the Economic and Social Research Institute forecasting 120,000 people leaving Ireland’s shores in 2010 and 2011.
Despite high levels of emigration, 30,800 people immigrated to live in Ireland in the year to April 2010. The result is a net migration figure of 34,500. Information from Central Statistics office suggest almost 19,100 of emigrants are citizens from eastern Europe who are returning home after working in Ireland on a short term basis.
The remaining numbers means that about 27,700 people left Ireland to start a new life in another country in the last 18 months. The most popular destinations include Australia, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and the U.S.
The number of Australian residence visas issue to Irish citizens has risen to 21 percent. In the last five months alone over 2,000 visas have been issued by Australian companies to Irish workers.
Dublin man Neil Dundon who emigrated to Australia in 2004 and now runs RedDot, a recruitment company in Sydney says he organized three Irish people with company visas in November alone.
“Most are looking to stay for a few years – I’m sure to see out the worst of the recession back home. I think for any Irish out here – including myself – circumstance dictates whether they stay or go but right now there is no compelling reason to go home,” he told the Irish Times.
During the first six months of 2010 Canada issued 3.077 temporary work permits to Irish citizens.
In the year leading up to June 2010, New Zealand issued over 4,000 work visas to Irish ex-pats.
In the UK almost 6,000 Irish registered for national insurance numbers which enable them to work in the country.
“The ease of access in terms of there being no visa restriction, the proximity, cheap travel, no language barrier and the size of the UK economy will mean that the UK will always be a primary destination for prospective Irish emigrants,” says Joe O’Brien, policy officer at Crosscare migrant project, which offers advice to emigrants.
“Emigration now is not the life sentence that it once was. But that does not make it easier for people who feel forced to leave their family and home to find a decent living abroad,” Mr O’Brien told the Irish Times.