Ireland’s young population are decamping for
Australia in their thousands, with statistics from the Australian
Department of Immigration and Citizenship showing an increase of 33 per
cent in Australian Working Holiday visas for the Republic of Ireland
The number of 18 to 30 year olds taking up a one-year Australian Working
Holiday Visa has increased to some 22,788 visas for the year to June 30, up
With Ireland’s unemployment rate at 12.4 per cent Australia is
increasingly been seen as a good move, particularly as the country has been
less affected by the global economic slowdown. Australia’s unemployment
rate remains steady at 5.8 per cent and it has posted positive economic
growth figures since the beginning of the year and a strong Australian
Stephen Reilly, 29, of County Cavan, fears the worst at his job, and
expects to be laid off at any minute. He already has his Australian Working
Holiday Visa ready, so when he does get made redundant he has options and
can escape the recession in Ireland.
“The way this country is… the future is not looking bright. I work in
manufacturing, driving a forklift, and word came back in May that they are
looking to reduce the staff by half. There are 60 people working in that
plant. I’ve been here eight years, but it is last in first out basis and
I was the third person here so it is not looking good,” he said.
“I plan to take a year out when I get made redundant, do some travelling
and see a bit and hopefully when I get back things will have picked up by
then,” Stephen said.
Luke McGee, 24 of County Donegal, has a couple of friends already in
Australia on a working holiday and is looking forward to experiencing the
Australian sunshine and way of life.
“I just want to get away for a year, something different. I think it will
be grand,” he said.
Luke, who hopes to do plumbing and construction work in Australia, will fly
out early January with a friend who is also on an Australian working
Noel Kelly, 29, of County Louth, has been luckier than most in the
recession. As a self-employed painter/decorator and commercial artist for
private companies he has not seen a downturn in work, but the lure of an
Australian Working Holiday will still see him fly out to Australia next
“It’s ideal: to work and travel and enjoy the sun,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Australia because so many people I know
have. My brother went over 10 years ago and would call me up and tell me to
come over there. And friends have gone over before, and a lot have said
‘if you can do it, do it’.
With Noel coming to the end of the age bracket for eligibility for the
Australia Working Holiday Visa he knew he had to apply, or miss out
altogether on his dream.
“I’ve been very lucky in the recession. A lot of my friends have been
hit, and they have mortgages and kids. I didn’t buy in the boom time and
I don’t have kids, and my friends say ‘there is nothing to tie you here
you should just go for it’,” Noel said.
The basic requirements for an Australian Working Holiday Visa is that
applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old, with a valid passport with
at least one year until renewal, and enough funds to support themselves for
an initial period when they arrive in Australia.
There is also a health and character requirement, as applicants must not
have any substantial criminal convictions or substantial medical issues.
Young people can take a free online assessment to determine their
eligibility for the Australian Working Holiday Visa by visiting
or the Australian Visa Bureau website.