The darker side of life for the Irish immigrant living in Australia will be revealed today in the Irish documentary series “Making it Down Under” as some Irish job seekers are facing discrimination based on their nationality.
Although the worst days of “No Irish Need Apply” are a thing of the past, some Irish people applying for jobs in Australia are being told, “We only hire Australians”, reveals Jake Haynes from Dublin in the RTE show.
“In Ireland I just finished in UCD the year before I came and I thought when I came out here I would be able to use my degree but all the places I applied for were like ‘we only hire Australian people,’” Haynes tells viewers.
“If you said that at home in Ireland – we only hire Irish people – there would be uproar.”
Further warnings come later in the show from Haynes who claims the Australian lifestyle of warm weather and beautiful beaches is not always exactly how it seems.
“They paint this picture of ‘it’s all cocktails and beaches’ but it’s really not. There really is an untold side to the story. Some people survive over here but some people don’t”.
Hayne’s best friend Philip Healy, also from Dublin, continues later in the episode to speak about the Irish immigrant life in Australia he’s experienced while working there as a hairdresser on a working holiday visa.
“You can get used here,” Healy said.
“Some people can see ‘backpacker, get them’. It has happened to people that I know. Underpay them, work them way over the hours that they are supposed to be working, don’t get holiday pay... They will use you, they will work you into the ground but they know that the Irish are the best workers, so, they will try to get what they can out of you”.
One of the Ireland’s most popular destinations for emigrants since the economic crash in 2008, an average of 15,000 Irish people have moved to Australia annually in the past number of years, some on temporary visas, with figures reaching 19,492 in the 2011/2012 year.
Although thousands still make the move each year, numbers receiving first-year working visas have dropped off significantly since then, coming in at 11,817 the following year and at just 6,763 between 2013 and 2014. Last year’s figures returned the lowest number of working holiday visas awarded since the crash at 5,221 first-year applicants and 2,572 second-year extensions.
The number of Irish becoming permanent Australian residents has continued to climb, however. Just 2,385 Irish became permanent additions to the Australian population between 2008 and 2009, according the Australian Department of Immigration, while this has climbed each year to 6,187 in 2015.
The Irish living in Australia have already been identified as one of the most at risk communities within the Irish diaspora when it comes to mental health issues. With past research showing that Australian Irish who are suffering with home sickness and mental health issues are the least likely to get in touch with local support services, a free videoing counseling service was established in September 2016. Offered by Irish organization Helpline Support Services, Cabhrú (the Irish for help) make counselors available between 8am and midday (Irish time), Wednesday through Friday so as to be on call during Australian evenings. The counselors can deal with a large range of issues including bullying, depression, loneliness, lack of familial support structure, transitional stress and anxiety, displacement, self-esteem and addiction issues, among other issues.
The “Making it Down Under” show is a documentary series focused on telling a selection of the thousands of stories of Irish people who have moved to Australia or are working there on a working holiday visa.
The tales have not been all doom and gloom, however, as an earlier episode of the series highlighted the success of Elaine Hayde from Kilkenny, who is striking it rich in the male-dominated mining profession in the Australian desert.
“I was trying to figure out what to do next. At university I met a recruitment agent from Australia for mining companies. I did a phone interview and then two days later they said ‘You’re on a plane next week!’” she told the RTE show.
Tonight’s episode featuring tales of the Australian job hunt will air at 3.30pm (EST) and will be available to stream on the RTE player.
H/T: Irish Independent