Younger workers snap up visas for Canada
HUGE demand has hoovered up virtually all 5,000 Canadian working holiday visas allocated to young Irish people.
There are now only 500 visas left after a rush to sign up for a taste of working life in Canada.
The number of similar visas granted to those seeking work in Australia and New Zealand has also surged.
Figures from Australia's Department of Emigration and Citizenship show a 42pc rise year-on-year -- with New Zealand also reporting an increase in applicants.
Working holiday visas allow young people to work for a period of time in a foreign country, while also being given the chance to tour and sightsee.
The Canadian version is open to 18- to 30-year-olds and permits a year-long stay.
Jackie Ellis, general relations officer with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, said that by the end of this month it was likely the 2011 programme would close to Irish applicants.
"We are very close to closing the programme because the quota will be full. I would say by the end of August everything will be gone," he said.
Ms Ellis stressed that applying now did not mean the person had to travel to Canada immediately.
"Once the visa is applied for, a successful applicant is issued a letter of introduction. From receipt of that letter they have one year to travel," she said.
"They get their letter of introduction, which is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. So once they get that, they have up to a year to activate it.
Ms Ellis said that although the programme would end soon, the 2012 programme should be launched before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Australian working holiday visa for 2010-2011 recently closed, with a big hike in applicants. There were 21,753 working holiday visas granted -- a jump of 42pc on the 2009-2010 figure of 14,833.
The New Zealand working holiday programme saw a 65pc increase in visas granted compared to last year, according to the most recent figures available
Some 156 New Zealand visas were granted in May 2010 and 258 were granted this May.
There are no limits to the number of working holiday visas granted to Irish people heading for New Zealand this year.
Stephen McLarnon, organiser of the Working Abroad Expo which will take place in Dublin this October, said working holiday visas were a great option for young travellers.