Emigration from Ireland to Britain rose by a staggering 25 per cent in 2010 according to a new survey just published – and the figure is set to rise further in 2011.
An estimated 13,290 Irish people emigrated to the United Kingdom last year, the biggest increase in emigration across the Irish Sea in more than 10 years.
The age profile of those who emigrated – the vast majority were between the ages of 19 and 34 – is also seen as a major problem for the Irish government as a brain drain follows the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.
Experts feel the figures will show another significant increase in 2011 and point out that they can’t accurately account for all those who quit Ireland in search of employment in the recent past.
London remains the most popular destination for young Irish men and women seeking jobs according to the statistics.
One barometer of the startling increase is the steady rise in the number of Irish citizens registering for national insurance numbers, a necessity for anyone looking to work or claim benefit in the UK.
That figure has risen steadily from 9,510 in 2006 to 11,050 in 2009.
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Last year’s 25 per cent increase reflects high unemployment and the severity of the recession according to emigrant groups.
The figures published by Britain’s Department for Work and Pensions highlight the youth of those who have quit Ireland.
According to the report, some 6,130 Irish citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 and 5,730 Irish citizens between 25 and 34 registered for National Insurance numbers in the UK in 2010.
Just 1,260 people between the ages of 35 and 44 registered to work or claim benefits in Britain.
The new figures also show that 7,340 men and 6,570 women with Irish citizenship registered for national insurance numbers in 2010.
The new figures represented the first big indication of a significant increase in emigration to Britain as a result of the Irish recession according to the Crosscare Migrant Project, a support and advice group for emigrants.
“In many ways it is not surprising considering the proximity, lack of visa requirement, lack of cultural boundaries, lower unemployment rate and the size of the British economy that Irish people are emigrating to the UK,” said Joe O’Brien, policy officer with the Crosscare group.
He told the Irish Times: “We would still warn people to prepare carefully, bring back-up funds or access to funds and do your research before you go.”
Britain remains the single most popular destination for Irish people emigrating. The Irish Times claims that between 2002 and 2010 some 83,160 Irish citizens registered for national insurance numbers.