A new surge of older professionals and business people with children have decided to emigrate.
And the dramatic increase in family emigrations can be partly explained by changes to the Australian visa system to be introduced during the summer, which will make it harder to move to the "lucky country".
The legislative change has led to hundreds of families using the Christmas period to consider their options and activate emigration plans put on hold last year.
Edwina Shanahan, manager at www.visafirst.com, told the Sunday Independent there had been a change in the profiles of those applying.
"Most skilled people now have dependents and want a job organised before they go.
"To emigrate with your family to Australia involves a substantial initial outlay and people need assurance of income before they leave Ireland. Also, those with family cannot travel with their family on the working holiday visa. They need a sponsor to bring their family with them, so they have to have a job offer to apply," she said.
Ms Shanahan said that, in the last 12 months, they had noted a trend of more highly skilled people deciding to move abroad.
"A lot of them are married with dependants, with property here in Ireland, which they are renting because they can't sell at the moment. They hope to move abroad for five to 10 years and then move back. We are getting a large number of applicants who are project managers or actual business owners who are now looking to go overseas.
"Many of those want to work for an employer first so they can get the lie of the land and then strike out and start their own businesses in Australia, New Zealand or Canada," she said.
But these older professionals with children tend to be more cautious than single young people. They want to have a job lined up before they go.
"Savings will only last so long. You do need an income coming in. You are going to have schooling fees, maybe creche fees. They have more to consider than just themselves," she said.
Ms Shanahan added another factor was that professionals with children ideally liked to get settled in Australia for a couple of years before the youngsters went into second-level education.
"The perception is that when kids reach secondary level age, it's harder for them to settle and relocation is a lot harder for them," she said.
"We had a lot of queries before Christmas and we have found they used the holiday to sit down and consider their options.
"A lot of applicants who registered with us in the last one or two years have made the decision to go and sent in their documents since January began," she added.
Changes to be introduced by Australian immigration means that anyone eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa will, from July, be put into a pool until they are selected to apply for a visa. At the moment, they are eligible to apply directly.
"We can apply directly for them. We think this change is having a strong bearing on people who are already registered who want to make sure their application is in before the changes come into force," Ms Shanahan added.
The new programme, called Skills Select, is a major reform in the way Australia selects skilled migrants and will seriously affect anyone that is considering applying for permanent residency.
Applications to Australia will be subject to a skills pool and you will need to receive an invitation from the Department of Immigration & Citizenship in order to lodge an application.
"We are advising our clients to have their applications lodged well in advance of any policy changes," said Ms Shanahan.