The Door to Escape Is Slowly Closing. as More and More Young Irish Professionals Move to Canada Hoping to Find Jobs and Success, the Opportunities Are Narrowing - and the Authorities Are Demanding Stricter Criteria for Visas. in the Third Part of This Series on the New Emigrants, the Mail Reveals Why Canada Is Getting Choosier. EXODUS OF OUR YOUNG
Byline: from Michelle Fleming in Canada
This week, the Mail has shown what lies in store for the thousands of young professionals making up an extraordinary new wave of emigration to Canada. Some find work quickly, while others apply fruitlessly for countless jobs, watching as their savings dwindle. But, as we reveal here in the third part of our groundbreaking investigation, even those who manage to find work are not guaranteed security. As Canada tightens its immigration laws and vows to keep its jobs for its own, is there room for the 500 people a week who are leaving our shores -- or is it a case of no Irish need apply?
IT'S February 2010 and the world's eyes are trained on Vancouver. Television crews from all over the globe join spectators to watch snowboarders rocket through the sky and skiers fly down the snowy pistes of British Columbia -- a Canadian province 12 times the size of Ireland.
Against the stunning backdrop of the snowy Blackcomb mountains, azure skies and the shimmering Pacific Ocean lapping the coastline, many, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, declare these to have been the best Winter Olympics in the Games' 86-year history.
And at the helm of the whole thing is 59-yearold Tipperary-man John Furlong, a one-time GAA football captain and father of five. Just over 30 years after Furlong first walked through customs, he was handed the biggest job in Canada. Today, as the Mail's in-depth investigation has highlighted, more than 500 people are leaving Ireland each week, all desperate to escape a hopeless future in a bankrupt country. In the largest exodus in 20 years, increasing numbers of our brightest and best are following in John Furlong's footsteps and making for Canada.
This week, we told the stories of some young professionals who have made the journey to begin their lives afresh. Their backgrounds were very different, but the common ground uniting them was the consensus that Canada bred optimism about the future -- something that eluded them in Ireland.
But many of these new emigrants are finding the reality of securing long-term work a much more complicated process than they imagined. And, already, some are being forced to return home -- unable to secure the sponsorship from an employer that would allow them to stay, as Canada increasingly asks why its jobs are not being kept for its own graduate generation.
So, is there still a welcome for the Irish in Canada or is the door slowly swinging shut?
'Yes, Irish people are welcome here, but because there is so much competition now, Canadians are getting very selective,' says Aisling Delahunt, a mother-of-three and real estate specialist. Originally from Three Mile Water in Co. Wicklow, she emigrated to Vancouver in the early Eighties.
'As more and more people are jammed up against the door of immigration they began to get pickier and choosier about who they're hiring,' she says. 'About two years ago I noticed more and more Irish accents here. I meet them working in coffee shops and cosmetics counters, all professionals hoping for their break.
'They all love it here and want to get sponsorship. I was asking a friend who works in immigration why can't we let all these Irish kids in. He said: "Aisling, the Japanese are saying the same, the French are saying the same."'
Last year, Aisling and some Irish Canadian friends set up Vancouver Island Business and Enterprise (VIBE), a business network to help some of the droves of young Irish arriving in the city. 'Our mandate is not to find them jobs but to give young Irish business people the chance to share ideas and contacts. It's a place they can come together, rather than having to knock on doors to try to find their way in a new country.'
Where, traditionally, New York and Sydney have been a beacon for Irish emigration, Canada's newfound attractiveness is, in part, due to it remaining relatively insulated from the worldwide recession. …