A CHANGE to Australia's immigration laws will give Irish emigrants more time to find employment before their working visa expires.
Previously the legal time period for those on the working visa to find work upon arrival was 28 days but this has now been extended to 90 days.
Irish people hoping to work down under must apply for an Australian 457 immigrant working visa which allows skilled workers to find employment with employers approved by the Australian government.
The extension of the job-seeking period will make Australia an even more attractive destination for Irish emigrants as it eases the time pressure for finding work.
Obtaining a visa may, however, prove more difficult than before after the Australian Senate passed the law amendment in Canberra by 37 votes to 29.
The amendment to the famous 457 visa means employers must now prove that they have tried to source Australian workers before sponsoring foreign nationals.
Australian immigration minister Brendan O'Connor said the new law will ensure the 457 visa scheme is used the way it was intended.
"The government is not targeting overseas workers, but shonky businesses that seek to exploit them," Mr O'Connor said.
The changes in the law have been subject to criticism within Australia itself, with businesses saying it is an unwarranted measure, while the Australian Green party has said it has tinges of xenophobia.
Our emigrants are Australia's best-paid European migrant group, and are even better paid than Australians themselves according to an Irish Echo survey.
Aidan Sinnott, from Drogheda, emigrated to Australia in 2008 and has never looked back. Based in Esperance on the south coast, he works as an agricultural scientist and emphasises the quality of life.
"You surf twice a day, the weather is always fantastic and the culture is so similar to Ireland's. It's like paradise," he says.
As of the end of 2012 there were 55,000 Irish people working in Australia, records show.