Sunday 17 December 2017

Recruiter brands emigration 'crisis' figures as misleading

Stephen McLarnon: says stats paint wrong picture
Stephen McLarnon: says stats paint wrong picture
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

A SENIOR recruiter has rubbished government statistics that indicate an emigration crisis.

Official data, which signals a worrying exodus of young people, completely ignores the thousands of Irish people who are only leaving on temporary visas, said Stephen McLarnon, head of this weekend's Working Abroad Expo.

He told the Irish Independent that these worrying emigration figures, which show that one person is leaving Ireland for good every six minutes, fail to take account of those working abroad only on temporary visas.

"Ireland needs a complete mind shift in the way that it views emigration," said Mr McLarnon.

"For most people under 40, and definitely those aged under 30, working abroad is viewed as a temporary assignment, designed to gain international experience at a time when opportunities are not plentiful at home.

"You only have to look at the type of visas to establish this. They are temporary, lasting up to three or four years. Those who go on to become permanent residents are only a fraction of the total number," he said.

Accurate

Mr McLarnon called on the Central Statistics Office to ensure its figures are more accurate by taking into account the number of Irish people abroad on working holiday visas.

In Australia, a popular destination for Irish emigrants, this information is readily available and reported monthly.

The most recent emigration figures released by the CSO showed that in the year ending April 2013, 17.3pc or 15,400 Irish people went to Australia.

However, the Australian Department of Immigration's annual report showed that 15,850 Irish people were living in Australia on working holiday visas that year, while 18,500 were on a subclass 457 visa. Both of these visa classes are temporary.

"Emigration no longer has the 'permanency' of the 1950s, 80s or early 90s," said Mr McLarnon.

"We are now in the global mobility age. Ireland is unlikely to ever meet the domestic demand for employment, given our strong birth rate, and therefore temporary foreign work will only become more of a feature of our economy and not less."

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