‘I couldn’t afford to live in Dublin, the city of my birth’

The number of people moving to Ireland is rising, but the experience is not easy for all

Stephen Cloak emigrated to Brazil for the second time, three months after his daughter was born in Dublin.

Stephen Cloak emigrated to Brazil for the second time, three months after his daughter was born in Dublin.

 

As figures from the Central Statistics Office show a continuing rise in the number of people moving to Ireland from abroad, The Irish Times asked readers who have done so in the past 18 months to tell us about their experiences. Here is a selection of responses we received, from both returning Irish emigrants, and new immigrants.

Stephen Cloak, re-emigrated to Brazil: ‘We couldn’t get close to the property ladder in Ireland’

I became a father on April 2nd, and left Ireland on July 15th because I could not afford to live in Dublin, the city of my birth. I had returned to live there in January 2013, just as the economy was showing its first green shoots. My Brazilian wife learned to speak English and worked hard to integrate into Irish society. She completed a post-grad in finance, and gained Irish citizenship three years later.

I currently have a 52km commute along a potholed highway to the regional capital. This commute leaves me exhausted

We were happy in Ireland, but we could not get close to the property ladder. Even though we were both working, we would have been laughed out of the bank manager’s office if we applied for a mortgage. Our combined salary covered our rent and expenses for a small flat in Rathmines, but didn’t stretch to a suitable place for our new baby.

The hard decision was therefore made to move to a small town in the mountains in the northeast of Brazil, were my wife is from. We now have a flat next door to my in-laws, four times bigger than our flat in Rathmines.

I currently have a 52km commute along a potholed highway to the regional capital. This commute leaves me exhausted. Crime is also a concern. But overall, we are happy with the move. While my salary is lower than in Dublin, I still have the advantage of the tropical weather, learning how to speak Portuguese proficiently, family support and affordable housing.

Have you moved to or from Ireland since April 2017? Share your story

If I had stayed in Dublin I would have had to move back in with my parents in order to save for a mortgage that I would maybe never have qualified for.

Nahla Bastawi, immigrated from Egypt: ‘We had high hopes but the reality is harsh’

Nahla Bastawi, a pharmacist from Egypt, followed her husband to Dublin last year.
Nahla Bastawi, a pharmacist from Egypt, followed her husband to Dublin last year.

I moved here from Egypt with my husband; he works as a network engineer for one of the big tech companies in Dublin. We chose to come here because Dublin is a big tech hub where the big business is happening. We knew it would be a great place for him and his career. He relocated here in 2016 and I followed a year later.

We had big dreams and high hopes about moving here, but the reality is harsh. I was a pharmacist in Egypt with 10 years’ experience. Here, I am on a Stamp 3, which is the visa type you get when you are married to a critical skills work permit [holder]. I have been trying to find a job since I got here. I am eligible to apply for a spousal work permit, but on the IRP card, there is a statement saying I cannot work or engage in business, which is misleading to employers. Employers are also not willing to wait at least six weeks for this work permit to be issued.

Right now I am picking my family values over my personal right to work

So we have to rely on one income, which is very hard when the rents are so high. We live in Stillorgan and pay €1,800 for our apartment.

It was my first time to come to Ireland when we relocated here. The people are very friendly, I don’t feel any racism at all against immigrants. I really like living here, and I feel safe and happy. Dublin has a big number of expats so I have made friends from a lot of different backgrounds around the world. I like the cosmopolitan trend in Dublin.

Right now I am picking my family values over my personal right to work. We are hopeful the situation will change soon, because it will be particularly challenging if we have kids and more expenses. If I had known the situation was like this before we came, we would have chosen somewhere else.

Cait Sheridan, returned from London: ‘My boyfriend experienced obstacles’

Cait Sheridan has moved back to Co Kildare with her partner, Shane Lofroth, who is originally from New Zealand.
Cait Sheridan has moved back to Co Kildare with her partner, Shane Lofroth, who is originally from New Zealand.

I moved back to Ireland last November after six years in London. I moved to study and stayed to work. One of my motivations to move home was to be with my Kiwi partner whose visa had run out for the UK in March. I’m an electrical engineer and I came home to a job in Dublin after searching for about three months. We live in Kildare and I commute on the train, as renting in Dublin isn’t feasible.

Moving back was easy for me, I had kept my car insurance and bank account while in the UK. But my boyfriend experienced several obstacles and unnecessary hindrances. He’s an electrician by trade, and to get a job here requires a Safe Pass, and this cannot be obtained without a PPSN which cannot be got unless you have a job offer.

I played a small part in campaigning for Repeal from London, and have delighted at how our country has changed since I left in 2012

Opening a joint bank account was tedious and slow, even when all the documents were submitted. The cost of car insurance for him was outrageous. Availability of broadband has also been an issue as we live in a rural area in Co Kildare, and it’s essential to keep up with his family in New Zealand.

I played a small part in campaigning for Repeal from London, and have delighted at how our country has changed since I left in 2012. I am enjoying showing it off to my partner, who says it’s like New Zealand only smaller. But as a modern society with big companies operating their headquarters here, the process of obtaining bank accounts and PPSNs, and availability of high quality broadband internet should be improved upon, not only to encourage those who have left our shores to return, but also to welcome newcomers who want to make their life in Ireland.

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