Canada is currently experiencing a Irish invasion, with several young people from the Emerald Isle making the trip north in search of new opportunities and adventure.
Ever since Canada started to issue more temporary resident visas and work permits five years ago, there has been an substantial increase in the number of Irish visitations to Canada. Just last year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada reported a total of 1,221 temporary resident visas and 5,535 work permits issued to Ireland residents, which represents a 64 per cent increase compared to 2012.
Vancouver, in particular, has seen an steady influx of young Irish visitors as of late. Ruairi Spillane, the manager of a website for newcomers called Moving2Canada, told CBC that the visitations are typically more evident in the summer months.
"We're finding a lot of the young Irish people are coming in on a two-year work permit, and that's a gateway to permanent residency," he explained.
Spillane also mentioned that despite the city's high cost of living, young Irish people are very attracted to the lifestyle in Vancouver. He noted that the three to four months of warmer weather is an added bonus, since Ireland typically sees more winter than summer.
"The lifestyle here is second to none. We have similar winters in Ireland, but summer is a little bit different here. We're not used to three or four months of sunshine, so that's a huge bonus for us."
Irish families, on the other hand, tend to look to the Prairies for good fortune, since the cost of living is lower and good paying jobs are plentiful because of the booming energy industry. Migrations to the Prairies especially rose in 2008, when Ireland entered a severe recession and economic depression.
Canada still a land of opportunity in 2018
This year, Canada released 10,700 work permits for Ireland residents aged 18 to 35 in support of the growing trend. Spillane says many Irish people will take full advantage of the permits, working in Canada for the full two years and eventually working towards permanent residency.
"A lot of the Irish that have moved here in the last five years are simply deciding to stay, and they're simply mentioning to their friends to come on over," he told CBC.
While Ireland continues to recover from its previous economic downturn, Canadians can expect more Irish people in their lives in the coming years.