Irish numbers applying for Australian work visas dwindling

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The number of visas for Irish backpackers and skilled workers fell by 43 per cent last year.

Numbers peaked at 18,200 in 2012, but in the 12 months to June 2014 just 6,763 first year working holiday visas were granted to Irish people, down from 11,817 the previous year.

Fewer Irish workers are opting to stay for their second year with applications for visa extensions down by more than a quarter to 5,233.

There has also been a significant drop in the number of skilled worker visas which allow employer-sponsored workers to live in Australia for up to four years.

In the year to last June, 3,760 Irish workers (along with 2,180 partners and children) were granted 457 visas, down 43 per cent from 6,570 the previous year.

However, Irish people are still ranked seventh on the list of countries with the most citizens in Australia on working holiday visas with 9,392 there on June 30 2014.

Also, in terms of proportionate representation bigger countries Britain, India and China were the only countries allocated more skilled worker visas than Ireland.

Although fewer Irish are arriving, the Irish population is becoming more permanent; 6,171 Irish workers and their family members became permanent residents in the 12 months to June last, up 18 per cent on the previous year and more than three times the figure from 2008.

Citizenship applications have also soared, with 2,843 Irish people swearing allegiance in the 12 months to June, an increase of over 1,000 on the previous year.

Its neighbour New Zealand has fewer Irish emigrants, but its popularity remains farly consistent, just dipping by 2.4 per cent this year.

Similarly in terms of permanent migration, 639 Irish people were granted residency there in the 12 months to last June, the highest figure ever, up from about 40 a year in the early 2000s.

The UK is still the most popular destination for Irish emigrants, but the numbers moving here dropped by four per cent to 16,750 in the twelve months to September 2014.



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