Numbers of Irish citizens attempting to gain permanency in Australia soared by 60 percent in the last year.

Visa agencies have recorded a significant increase in the number of Irish families making enquiries about immigrating to Australia.

There were 2,000 applications from Ireland for permanent residency visas in Australia last year alone. This figure is expected to rise to more than 3,000 over the coming year.

According to many people are now posing questions relating to family issues.

"The proportion of families inquiring about migration has increased dramatically as economic conditions harden," Edwina Shanahan, manager with VisaFirst told the Irish Examiner.

"The figures speak for themselves — more and more people are finding it tougher to get employment in this country and many believe this will be the state of play for years to come.

"Customer feedback would indicate that too many unemployed Irish workers are despondent and feel there is nothing to stay here for at the moment. They believe their best option is to gain quality work experience in Australia, and other countries, with a view to returning home when things pick up," said Ms Shanahan.