The United States and Britain are no longer the top choices for Irish emigrants. Australia and Canada are now the favorite destinations.
Australia issued 22,786 one-year working visas to Irish people under the age of 30 from Jan. to July, according to Government figures. That is up 33 percent from last year's figures. Australia issued 2,501 resident visas in the same period.
Canada is the second most-popular destination, and issued 2,607 visas to Irish people last year. There has been a 13 percent jump in resident visas awarded to Irish people so far this year, and more than 3,000 are expected by the end of this year.
Canada's ambassador to Ireland, Patrick Binn, said that he was seeing a marked increase in Irish emigrants applying for Canadian visas.
"We are out of recession and are still open to Irish workers with skills in many areas." said Binn.
Surprisingly, there has been a massive decrease in emigration to the U.S. in recent years. Up to September of this year, only 287 immigrant visas were issued to Irish emigrants. Only 288 visas were issued in 2008. Over 20,000 visas are available through the program.
It's apparent that the new 12-month U.S. "working holiday visa" is a flop. The visa is available to graduates and students, and was given a high-profile launch by the Irish Government in 2008. But it has failed to attract the interest of a significant number of Irish emigrants.
11,000 people have moved to Britain this year, but it is not attracting as many emigrants as expected.
"The big increase is for temporary options," said Joe O'Brien, policy officer at the Crosscare Migrant Project. "People are taking a year out to ride out the recession by traveling to Australia and Canada. There aren't the same options for travel to the U.S. and the new J-visa is quite restrictive."
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