Australian Ambassador calls on more Irish to head down under

Number of Irish emigrating to Australia has dropped 70% since 2012

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number moving from Ireland to Australia dropped from 17,400 people in 2012 to 5,300 people in 2017. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number moving from Ireland to Australia dropped from 17,400 people in 2012 to 5,300 people in 2017. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

 

Young Irish people make an “incredible contribution” to Australian society and more should consider moving there to live and work, according to the Australian Ambassador to Ireland.

Ambassador Richard Andrews is touring Ireland this week with student travel company Usit to encourage young Irish people to apply to move to Australia for a year or longer.

“We are family. There’s a huge historic connection between Ireland and Australia,” said Mr Andrews, who described himself as “a salesperson” for his country, a product he is “very proud of”.

Since 1975 more than 275,000 Irish citizens have had visas issued to them for Australia. The country has been one of the most popular destinations for Irish emigrants in the past decade, but numbers have dropped significantly in recent years.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number moving from Ireland to Australia dropped from 17,400 people in 2012 to 5,300 people in 2017.

Mr Andrews said he is “not concerned” that the figures are not as high as they were at a time when “the push factor from Ireland was not as strong” due to the recession. He said their job “is to keep the pull factor as strong as possible”, and that Australia offered young Irish people an opportunity “to add an extra dimension to their life”.

“They’ll have a great time, broaden their horizons, enjoy the lifestyle and obviously the weather is fabulous. There’s also the opportunity to do jobs and have some experiences in conditions they wouldn’t necessarily experience in Ireland,” said Mr Andrews.

“Most importantly, they will build lifelong friendships and connections.”

Since mid-2017, Australia has been tightening its immigration rules. This has included the abolition of the 457-visa programme, a four-year employer-sponsored visa which has brought tens of thousands of Irish workers to Australia in the past decade.

Mr Andrews said that prospective migrants should keep an eye on the developments in the law, but they “very much welcome and will continue to welcome people with good skills, good attitudes and who want to make a contribution to the economic development of Australia”.

Mr Andrews said that as ambassador, he is on “a full time campaign to promote Australia in Ireland”.

Usit is holding free information evenings on visas, jobs, costs and lifestyle at the Savoy Hotel Limerick on Tuesday May 22nd, the Usit office in Dublin on Wednesday 23rd, and the Imperial Hotel in Cork on Thursday 24th. All events begin at 6pm. To sign up visit www.usit.ie.