Irish people were in the top six of foreign nationals granted permanent residency in Australia and came fourth in the list of those granted employer-sponsored visas last year, a study has shown.
Australia is to issue more than 5 million visas to migrants this year, which, according to Michael Pezzullo, Australia’s secretary of the department of immigration, reflects a range and scale of policy challenges not seen since the Second World War.
According to experts at one of Ireland’s leading migration agents, Irish people emigrating Down Under have no small part to play in this milestone.
“The number of traditional permanent migrants in Australia in growing significantly with estimates revealing that this year’s intake is likely to surpass the existing record of 185,000, which was set in 1969,” said Edwina Shanahan, migrant expert with VisaFirst.com.
“We have looked for figures to ascertain the Irish element of this and we have found that there has been an increase in the numbers of Irish applying for permanent residency in Australia. We have jumped from eighth position last year to sixth position this year, which is 3.2% of the total. For a country the size of ours, that is a sizeable portion.”
The research shows that, in 2014, Australia issued Indian nationals the lion’s share of 39,026 (20.5%) in Skilled Migrant Visa Grants, followed by China at 26,776, and the UK at 23,220. Irish nationals were granted 6,171 visas.
Migrants from Ireland were also granted 5,947 employer-sponsored visas, more than American nationals who received 5,718.
VisaFirst.com say that while most people are familiar with the one-year working holiday visa, many are not aware that they may be eligible for a different working visa for Australia.
There is such a clamour in Australia for workers in the construction trades and engineering professions that sponsorship visas are being processed as fast as within five working days in some cases.