Up to 3,000 set to leave for NZ

UP TO 3,000 workers are expected to leave Ireland before the end of the year in a bid to avail of construction work opportunities in New Zealand.

Over the course of the weekend, the New Zealand earthquake commissioner highlighted the availability of about 8,000 building-related jobs arising from the clean up/rebuilding operation in Christchurch following an earthquake there earlier this year.

In the wake of that announcement, VisaFirst.com, a visa specialist, has experienced “a significant increase” in inquiries from Irish workers interested in moving to New Zealand.

“Since the press conference at the weekend we’ve been inundated with calls from construction workers from throughout the country looking to head to New Zealand to secure one of the 8,000 vacancies on offer,” Declan Clune of VisaFirst said.

“While these oppor-tunities have been down-graded somewhat, there are still a considerable amount of employment opportunities in New Zea-land for Irish workers.”

He added: “Given that visa applications allowing you to work can be processed in as little as two weeks, we would envisage possibly 2,000-3,000 workers leaving our shores for New Zealand under a work permit between now and the end of the year.”

Even before the earthquake, New Zealand has become a popular destination for Irish workers seeking new beginnings. More than 4,500 people left Ireland last year alone on either residency or work-permit visas mainly due to the availability of employment opportunities resulting from natural disasters. This number is expected to rise to 5,000 for 2011.

VisaFirst has been hosting free information seminars around the country in the past few months for people looking to emigrate.

According to Mr Clune: “Our particular focus in the upcoming seminars will definitely be on the New Zealand jobs initiative and on advising people just how to get there and what visas and other documentation they need to have in place.”

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