For many Irish people, Australia is the new land of opportunities. Since the Republic has been battered by an economic recession a few years ago, thousands of Irish citizens have flocked to Oz in search of a better life. However, it seemed that the Irish exodus to the Land Down Under has started to slow down.
According to data published by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the number of Irish citizens who were granted working holiday visas in the second half of 2012 has declined. The figure was down by 28.8% from the same period in 2011. According to the report, a total of 6,504 Irish citizens were granted working holiday visas for the first time between the months of July and December 2012.
Despite the slowdown, it seemed that there are a growing number of Irish people who are seeking to remain in Australia once their working holiday visas expire. According to the country’s immigration department, the number of Irishmen and women wanting to extend their stay for a second year jumped to 3,735. The figure is up by 33.7% year on year. According to the latest data, there were 15,005 Irish people in Australia on working holiday visas, the fifth highest in the world and just behind the United Kingdom, South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany.
Also, there has been an increase in the number of Irish citizens who received employer-sponsored 457 visas. According to the Immigration Department, the number of employer-sponsored 457 visas granted to Irish people jumped by 18.4% to 3,670 in the second half of 2012.
Meanwhile, Western Australia was considered to be the most popular destination for those who were granted 457 visas. The report showed that about 1,410 Irish people took up employer-sponsored visas for jobs in Western Australia. New South Wales is the second-most popular destination with 1,010 Irish people, followed by Victoria and Queensland with 590 and 450, respectively.
Aside from the money-making opportunities it offers, one of the reasons why Australia is a popular destination for Irish migrant workers is its unique working holiday visa program. Unlike Canada, Australia offers an unlimited number of working holiday and skilled workers visas to Irish citizens.
But to qualify for a visa, certain criteria must be met. For starters, those who are applying for a working holiday visa should be between 18 and 30 years old. Those who want a 457 visa, on the other hand, must be sponsored by an employer and have a skill that is in demand in Australia.