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Record move of Irish to Canada predicted

THE largest wave of emigration from Ireland to Canada since the 1800s will happen this year according to the Catholic Church's Crosscare Migrant Project.

The Canadian government visa allocation for Irish people this year is up significantly from 6,350 to 10,700.

Last year the available visas were taken up in a matter of days. This year the visas have been split into three categories: the standard working Holiday Visa, a small number of internship visas for third-level graduates (International Co-op), and visas for people who have job offers in their area of qualification (Young Professionals).

The new categories of visa will give more options to intending emigrants and to Irish emigrants there who want to extend their stay. In particular the Young Professionals category will allow people to use their skills and qualifications, and the International Co-op visa will allow people to cultivate links in Canada prior to graduation. However, these new categories of visa also mean that Irish people will be more likely to stay in Canada.

Joe O'Brien, policy officer for Crosscare Migrant Project, which provides an information and advocacy service for intending emigrants, said, "If there is the same demand for working holiday visas to Canada this year as there was last year then I think we may see the largest number of Irish people emigrate to Canada in a single year since the 1800s.

"The Fifties was one of the worst decades in Irish emigration history; in 1957 we have estimates of 7,500 Irish people arriving in Canada. But 2014 could break that number."

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