Emigrants returning from Australia ‘can help strengthen business links’

Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce to open new Dublin chapter

A survey of IACC members last year found 80 per cent wanted to return to live in Ireland in the future, or were undecided about staying in Australia. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

A survey of IACC members last year found 80 per cent wanted to return to live in Ireland in the future, or were undecided about staying in Australia. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

 

Since 2008, more than 100,000 Irish people have been granted visas to work in Australia. As the economy in Ireland improves the numbers deciding to move back home is on the up, and opportunity is ripe for all these returning emigrants with Australian work experience to strengthen business ties between the two countries.

That’s according to the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce (IACC), which is opening a new Dublin chapter on Wednesday.

The idea for a Dublin chapter arose when the IACC noticed a significant rise in the number of members moving back from Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane to Ireland to take up roles across a range of industries, particularly around Dublin.

“Some of them were people who had many years of association with the Chamber, and wanted to keep that contact with Australia when they came back,” said IACC chief executive Barry Corr.

A survey of IACC members last year found 80 per cent wanted to return to live in Ireland in the future, or were undecided about staying in Australia.

“Most of them are in their early to mid-30s, who have just got married and started a family or are thinking along those lines. In other cases, parents have passed away or are infirm and there is a family need for them to move home.”

A lot of young professionals who came to Australia over the past few years seeking work were not there by choice, Corr says, and now that there are more jobs on offer in Ireland again, they are also deciding to return.

These returning Irish have a strong understanding of how business works in Australia, a good network of contacts, and ideas about how business opportunities can be developed, he said.

The Dublin chapter of the IACC will be chaired by former Central Bank of Ireland director and Fintech Ireland founder Peter Oakes.

“The launch of the chapter sees a tremendous opportunity for effective engagement on a number of topics which are of shared interest and of fundamental importance to the continuing economic growth of both countries, including innovation, technology [and] infrastructure,” Mr Oakes said.

It will provide networking opportunities for the Australian business community in Ireland and for Irish people who have returned from working in Australia, as well as support for Irish companies interested in expanding into the Australian market.

Trade and investment between Ireland and Australia is now worth almost €19 billion, according to the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Ruth Adler, who is a patron of the new Dublin chapter of the IACC.

Ms Adler said the Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement, which is currently being negotiated, should "strengthen further the Australia-Ireland bilateral relationship".

Australian exchequer figures show Australia imported $1.82 billion (€1.18 billion) worth of goods from Ireland in 2014-15, while exports from Australia to Ireland were valued at $55 million. Australia’s trade in services with Ireland was valued at over $1.5 billion.

The Enterprise Ireland office in Sydney is currently working with more than 150 Irish companies. A growing number of Australian companies are expanding operations in Ireland too., some of which are already working with the new IACC Dublin Chamber, including Harvey Norman, CurrencyFair, Macquarie, and Woodside Energy.

As part of its Returning Migrants Programme, the Chamber has developed deals with private sector partners to offer assistance to its members who want to return to Ireland with things like finding a job, access to financial services, car and health insurance, setting up a business, or getting tax advice about leaving one jurisdiction and entering another.

One of the partners, Irish recruitment agency CPL, created a pop-up office in Melbourne in March, where 64 Irish professionals from a range of disciplines were interviewed over three days for positions in Ireland.

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