THE latest figures from the Australian Department of Immigration have revealed a massive increase in the number of Irish people emigrating to Australia with just over three thousand Irish citizens were granted permanent residency in the financial year ending June 2010, a 22 percent rise on the previous year.
The news comes as the Western Development Commission released a report showing that the rate of decline in the population aged 15 to 29 in the West and North West (the age group most likely to emigrate) is substantially higher than the state average. Findings for counties Sligo and Leitrim showing that young males form the highest proportion of this mass exodus while in other parts of the West young it is young women who are opting to emigrate.
This trend is reflected in the Australian figures. While the Australian Government has seen a small drop off in the number of people seeking to emigrate down under, the rate of Irish applying has kept rising. Irish people accounted for 1.8 per cent of the total migration program for 2009/2010 year and with a total of 2, 950, ranked fifth behind the Philippines, the US, India and the UK in terms of those granted 457 temporary business visas.
However the number of Irish people granted Working Holiday Visas (WHV) were down sharply on the previous year with 14, 833 arrived on WHVs up to the end of June compared to 22, 786 the previous year. This is probably due to the worsening economic situation in Ireland and the fact that more of our skilled young people are opting to permanently leave our shores instead of just taking a year out to travel.
To read the full story see this week's Leitrim Observer or subscribe to the e-paper.
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