Large numbers of Irish citizens continue to emigrate for better opportunities

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High numbers of Irish citizens are continuing to emigrate to other countries, especially Australia, according to official figures.

Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship figures show a 68 percent increase in the number of visas granted to Irish workers in the past year with 3,095 arriving in 2011, up from 1,840 in 2010. Last year, Ireland's Central Statistics Office also reported that emigration among Irish nationals had increased sharply. The figures showed an increase to 76,400 in the year to April 2011, a 16.9 percent increase from 2010.

Many are leaving Ireland due to the high unemployment rate of 14 percent and lack of jobs for even the most qualified of individuals.

Australia has been a popular immigration destination for emigrating Irish citizens for many years. Over the years at various times in Ireland's history there have been waves of Irish immigration to Australia. For example, during Ireland's potato famine of the 1840s many Irish nationals, attracted by the Australian gold rush, emigrated to Australia.

The continuous stream of incoming Irish immigrants has been helping to fill Australia's labour shortages, particularly in mining and construction industries. Rob Knight, Australia's Northern Territory Minister for Business and Employment, announced at a recent jobs fair in Dublin, Ireland, that his region of Australia had tens of thousands of jobs to fill and desperately needs skilled workers there.

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