A new survey of Irish emigrants shows that 40 percent of those polled definitely plan to return to Ireland in the future.

Carried out by visa specialists, Visafirst.com, at the group’s nationwide information roadshow earlier this year, the survey found that just 8 percent don’t intend to return, while the remainder said they didn’t know what the future would hold.

When asked if they would still be considering emigrating if it wasn’t for the economic crisis, the majority (68 percent) said yes as they wanted to travel to experience new cultures and lifestyles. Twenty-one percent said maybe not now or for the same length of time, while 11 percent said they would prefer to stay in Ireland.

One third of those surveyed plan to stay no longer than two years, but the rest believe they’ll stay four years or longer. A quarter said they would return for love or just for “the craic.”

When asked what they would miss the most, 89 percent said friends and family.

Visafirst.com manager Edwina Shanahan told the Irish Examiner that Irish people were leaving out of choice than necessity.

“There is a definite shift in the attitudes of those leaving Ireland for work. We are seeing less ‘necessity’ and more ‘choice’. We are also seeing a big change in the desired destination of those looking to travel and work.

“Where once Australia was the go-to location, Canada and the United States are now attracting greater attention — the majority (55.4%) of our survey respondents chose Canada/US as their first preference,” she said.

However, the draw of home is still strong says Shanahan.

“Dealing with people on a day-to-day basis I see a variety of demographics traveling for a variety of reasons but a common thread is the grá people have for their country,” she said.