The recent economic recession has hit economies hard across the globe, but perhaps nowhere so as in Europe, where countries like Greece and Italy are fighting to remain afloat. The situation in Ireland is not a whole lot better, according to recent statistics, and the general mood of the people reflects this.
Locals express frustration over Irelands numerous “see-throughs” – painful reminders of the short-lived construction boom that occurred just a few years back when the industry exploded, employing one-fifth of the population to build the many homes and offices that now stand empty.
Rumours now swirl about the opportunities elsewhere – including Canada. It is the younger generation who are more likely to take heed. Particularly when told of the opportunities in the skilled trades.
The Irish economy is not giving the young people much hope to hold onto for the time being either. Unemployment rates have gone from four percent five years ago, to 14 percent now and the deficit has increased to one-third of the gross domestic product.
The situation has left some experts wondering why Canada is not doing more to attract these young workers – particularly in light of recent signs of our own economic recovery. Not only are most of the Irish skilled, but they also speak English and would be able to integrate well into the Canadian cities with large Irish communities such as Toronto and Montreal.
Some officials say Canada is doing what it can – increasing the number of student visas being issued as well as the length of validity. Immigration applications are also being fast-tracked. However, though more could be done to help, critics are concerned over the focus on temporary migration among Irish youth.
“We’ve doubled the number of student and youth visas to 5,000 from Ireland,” says Canadian ambassador to Ireland Loyola Hearn. “But, the Irish are like Newfoundlanders. They may work somewhere else, but they always come home.”
Source: Montreal Gazette