The United States issued over 17,000 non-immigrant visas to Irish citizens in the 11 months leading up to December of 2011, according to figures obtained by the Irish Times.

A total of 17,755 visas were issued, including students’ work programmes, intra-company transfers and other temporary workers. This figure represents a 22 percent increase on the previous year.

Some 306 immigrant visas were issued to Irish citizens in the 11 months leading up to December, which represents a slight increase on the 2010 figures.
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The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that 40,200 Irish citizens emigrated during the 12 months previous to April 2011, to Britain, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and Australia; nearly 13,000 more than the same period in 2010.

Britain and Australia remain the most popular destinations among Irish emigrants. Over 16,000 people made the move to Britain in search of work in the UK 2010/11 tax year. Figures from the UK Department of Work and Pensions show that in 2011, over 300 Irish people per week applied for national insurance numbers to allow them to work. The vast majority of applicants were aged 18 to 34.

Philip O’Connell, research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute, told the Irish Times that current projections indicated that a further 75,000 or so Irish would emigrate next year.