Emigrants would return home for love or just for ‘the craic’

No matter how far away we go, it seems Irish emigrants still love home — with a quarter admitting they would return for love or even just for "the craic".

A survey carried out by visa specialists, visafirst.com, has shed some light on why Irish people are leaving home and found that it is evolving, from a necessity due to economic circumstances to simply a desire.

Some 40% of those surveyed at the group’s nationwide information roadshow earlier this year, said they will definitely return to Ireland in the future, while just 8% said they don’t intend to come back.

The remainder said they had no idea what the future holds, with one respondent saying “the future will just depend on how I was getting on in the [new] country and how my family was getting on with the change”.

When asked: “If it wasn’t for the economic crisis Ireland is experiencing would you still be considering emigrating for a while?”

- 68% said they wanted to travel to experience new cultures and lifestyles;

- 21% said maybe not now or for the same length of time;

- 11% said they would rather stay in Ireland.

One-third said they plan to stay for up to two years, while the balance believe they’ll remain for up to four years or maybe longer.

Three-quarters said they know family and friends who have had to move due to the recession, with most having gone to New Zealand and Australia.

Most (89%) say they would miss family and friends most. Virtually no one said they out miss the Irish weather or the food, while nobody at all said they would miss their job.

Commenting on the study, manager with visafirst.com, Edwina Shanahan, said there was a definite shift in the attitudes of Irish people emigrating — with more leaving out of choice rather than necessity.

“There is a definite shift in the attitudes of those leaving Ireland for work. We are seeing less ‘necessity’ and more ‘choice’. We are also seeing a big change in the desired destination of those looking to travel and work.

“Where once Australia was the go-to location, Canada and the United States are now attracting greater attention — the majority [55.4%] of our survey respondents chose Canada/US as their first preference,” she said.

Ms Shanahan said the draw of home was still very strong, despite the attractions of the sandy beaches of Australia and the snow slopes of Canada.

“Dealing with people on a day-to-day basis I see a variety of demographics travelling for a variety of reasons but a common thread is the grá people have for their country,” she said.


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