Showing posts with label Irish diaspora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish diaspora. Show all posts

Program helps a new wave of Irish immigrants transition to Montreal

Montreal City HallImage via Wikipedia
MONTREAL — There's a steady increase in the number of Irish immigrants coming to Montreal for job opportunities.
The Canadian government has increased quotas in its working holiday program with Ireland and a new Montreal group is helping Irish immigrants make the most of Montreal.
Catherine McKee moved from Ireland to Montreal in January.
She studied French in university, and wanted to continue improving her language skills.
"I've lived in France previously, so I wanted a new experience and I thought that Montreal would be a good place to learn," she told CTV Montreal.
McKee quickly found work as a receptionist at an IT company.
She credits a newly formed group, called the Irish Immigrant Integration Initiative, with helping her get started.
"It all seems to be very well organized," she said. "They're really looking out for the Irish people that are coming in."
The group organized a networking event back in February. Newly-arrived immigrants had the opportunity to learn about Montreal's Irish community.
More importantly, they were introduced to potential employers. 
Michelle Vahey of the St. Patrick's Society of Montreal says that ever since the economic downturn there are fewer opportunities in Ireland. 
"Some companies folded, some other companies weren't taking on possibly as many graduates as they had done in the past," she said. 
Canadian and Irish governments also have a working holiday program agreement available for people aged 18-35. Canada has increased the number of Irish working holiday visas -- from 2,000 to 5,000 -- and the term has also been extended -- from one year to two. 
Vahey says it shows the strong ties between the two countries and stands to benefit both.

Irish immigrants get helping hand

Authentic portrait of St PatrickImage via Wikipedia
MONTREAL - It's tough slogging to find work and friends in a new city, let alone a new country, so the St. Patrick's Society is offering a helping hand and a little fun for new Irish immigrants to Montreal.
On Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., an evening of networking and integration will be held at the Irish Embassy, a pub on Bishop St. - not to be confused with the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa.
With dire economic difficulties gripping much of Ireland along with large job losses, a program of working holiday visas has been established by the Canadian government.
An agreement between Canada and Ireland to allow 12-month open work permits has recently been extended from one to two terms, or from 12 to 24 months. Beyond that, those who wish to stay can ask an employer to sponsor them.
Applicants for this working holiday scheme must be between 18 and 35 years of age.
Last year, 4,000 allocations were given to Irish immigrants for these special visas; for this year, the number was increased to 5,000.
The purpose of this planned Irish evening is to give recent arrivals a warm welcome and some practical advice, including where to live, where to look for jobs and how to meet someone who will put their CV in the right hands.
"It's who you know and friends of friends who help in times of job searches," said Ruth Hanna, one of the organizers of the Feb. 3 event.
"The historical mission of the St. Patrick's Society was to care for new arrivals but there hasn't been much need for this in the recent past," Hanna said.
"When I arrived here in 1999, I looked for Irish organizations, and there were some, but none that catered to native-born Irish."
Hanna emphasized that while there will be some recruitment agents and potential employers invited to the event, this is by no means a job fair.
"It's comforting to meet others from where you come from," said Erin Matheson, office manager of theS t. Patrick's Society.
"This is our first event and we'll see what the needs are."
Registration before Friday is strongly recommended. Call 514-481-1346.

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Will these Irish migrants be different from the past?

Location of IrelandImage via WikipediaSource: BBC News
The Celtic Tiger is in intensive care and young people are rushing for the exits. But how will a new exodus of Irish to Britain compare with previous waves of Irish immigration, asks Tom de Castella?
A couple of days before Ireland's politicians meekly agreed to the EU's financial bailout, a gleaming new terminal opened at Dublin airport.
T2 cost 600m euros but with the economy in deep recession and passenger numbers falling, it is being seen as a monument to Ireland's economic collapse.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary arrived at the opening in a hearse dressed in an undertaker's outfit and bearing a coffin, while a taxi driver told the Financial Times: "I suppose they're getting it ready for all the young people trying to emigrate."
Black humour is rife but beneath the joking lies a serious point. Ireland may be on the verge of sending another wave of migrants to foreign shores.
Passport Many young Irish are now reaching for one of these
In the year up to April 2010, Irish emigration grew by 40% to 65,000 but almost half of those were Eastern Europeans returning home. The difference now is that the numbers are accelerating and it is the Irish who are leaving, according to the country's Economic and Social Research Institute. In July the research body predicted that 200,000 people would emigrate between 2010 and 2015.
"We've always had a culture of emigration," says Jamie Smyth, social affairs correspondent at the Irish Times, referring to the potato famine of the 1840s in which the Irish population shrank by more than 20% after a million people died and another million emigrated.
With a third of under-25s out of work it is the young who are most likely to leave, with Australia, New Zealand and Canada ahead of the UK as destinations according to last year's figures, says Smyth.

“Start Quote

Claire Weir
If you can get out you do”
End Quote Claire Weir, 25
Indeed in the first nine months of 2009, there was only a 7% rise in the number of Irish people registered to work in the UK, hardly a major increase. But he cautions that these figures are a year out of date, and since then the UK economy has begun to recover while Ireland's economic malaise has worsened.
Claire Weir, a 25-year-old graduate, is one of the new arrivals to Britain. At the weekend she packed up her stuff, got a lift to Dublin and took the ferry to Holyhead, en route to a new life in London.
The trained photographer is sleeping on a friend's sofa, looking for part-time work in a supermarket or pub to pay the bills while she finds regular photography work.
"I just want a job, I need a bit of money coming in and can't live on thin air. I don't think I can get that consistency in Ireland."
Emigration of Irish nationals
Part of her photography studies involved taking pictures of the many unfinished property developments that now litter Ireland. She and her friends feel betrayed by a political and business class that has indebted the country for her generation. Now they are voting with their feet.
"If you can get out you do. I come from a rural area in County Meath and there are very few graduates left. Four of my closest friends have gone, the others are either in a relationship or at college so can't leave."
Mary Corcoran, professor of sociology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, says that the boom years were an exception - for nearly every other decade since the Irish state was founded in 1919, emigration has been part of its economic survival.
Emigration reached its apogee in the 1950s when 50,000 people left a year. The outward trend stopped briefly during the 1970s but returned with a vengeance the following decade when unemployment soared. On average, 35,000 people were leaving the country a year during the 80s.
"That is the decade many are comparing today's situation with. People remember airports at Christmas time packed with emigrants coming home and the farewells in January when they all went back again."

A 1950s Irish childhood in Britain

Poet and academic Eavan Boland moved to Britain in the early 50s when her father took up the post of Irish ambassador to London. Despite her family's exalted position in society, she recalls a British establishment that saw the Irish as "a sub race". It led her to write the poem An Irish Childhood in England: 1951, which reflected on an incident when she first went to school in England aged six. "The Irish frequently say 'I amn't' instead of 'I'm not'. But when I stood there in school and uttered the phrase the teacher turned to me scathingly and said: 'You're not in Ireland now'. It was a very small incident but has always stayed with me. We went onto the shores of England as a defeated people."
Britain, along with America, was the traditional choice for Irish people seeking a new life. In the 19th Century it was the Irish navvies who built Britain's railways, in the 20th Century they manned the nation's building sites or worked as domestic help, creating Irish ghettos in the big cities.
"When we think of emigration we think of the famine ships or the people who went to Kilburn in the early 70s and drank themselves into an early grave," she says. But the character of emigration has changed. The Irish population today is far better educated with nearly half of 25-34 year-olds having gone on to higher education, the second highest rate in the EU.
Today's immigrants are more likely to be in IT or business than construction. And whereas in the past the US was easy to settle in without papers, today the Patriot Act and tighter checks makes America off limits to most Irish.
So how will the new arrivals to Britain fare? Highly-skilled graduates in areas such as IT will find it relatively easy to get jobs, she believes. But the construction workers who once had easy pickings on British building sites will now be competing against well established East Europeans. On the plus side, whereas it was hard for previous generations to keep in touch with home, the advent of e-mail, Skype and Ryanair has made it much easier for the new wave of immigrants.
Hurling player The loss of young hurlers has affected village teams
And neither will they face the same hostility as their forebears. Britain was once a byword for prejudice against Irish workers with the notorious "No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish" signs posted on B&B doors. Later, IRA bombings intensified anti-Irish feelings.
But things have changed beyond recognition for the new wave of Irish arrivals in the UK. Not only has the peace process reset the political context and the boom years given the Irish self-confidence, but the activities of radical Islamist groups have created a new scapegoat, she says.
Poet Eavan Boland, who moved to the UK in the 1950s, believes that despite possible tensions over historical baggage, the new wave of immigrants will not face the prejudices expressed in the past.
"The UK is no longer anti-Irish. In those days Ireland was a country that had been disloyal in World War II by staying neutral. It was Catholic. It was only when it became a republic in 1948 - previously it was a Free State - that Irish people could travel in Britain without papers.
"Now we're all European, we have the same passport and are entitled to free movement. Britain was a great partner in the peace process, people went through a lot together.
"And David Cameron made a beautiful speech about Bloody Sunday that was an extremely healing moment. It's come too far, there's too much understanding. I don't think you can reverse that now."
But with some resentment evident on both sides of the Irish Sea about the UK role in the rescue package agreed this week - British taxpayers unhappy and Irish pride rather injured - it remains to be seen where the relationship goes from here


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