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Tánaiste and Canadian Immigration Minister announce enhancements for working abroad visas

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D., and the Hon. Jason Kenney, M.P., Canada’s Minister for Citizenship today (Thursday, October 5th 2012) announced substantial enhancements in the Ireland Canada Working Holiday Programme. The announcement will see the number of visas available for Canadian and Irish participants double to over 10,000 by 2014 and see the length of stay extended from one year to two years.

Speaking at the announcement this afternoon, the Tánaiste welcomed the new programme.

“I visited Toronto over the St Patrick’s Day weekend this year to meet those participating on the programme as well as the companies seeking to hire Irish workers. At that time both Minister Kenney and I felt that the programme could be enhanced to better meet the needs of participants and perspective employers. I am delighted that as a result of that meeting in March, we were able to bring forward these changes which will benefit both our countries in the coming years.”

The Tánaiste also said that the Government is “striving to create the economic climate that will allow emigrants to return. However, this programme is not just about short term emigration. Canada is one of the biggest investors in Ireland and Irish companies now employ 60,000 people in Canada. This new generation working holiday programme will continue to facilitate economic ties between Ireland and Canada.”

Minister Kenney is in Dublin to meet the Tánaiste and to attend the Working Abroad Expo Recruitment Fair in support of a number of Canadian companies participating in the exhibition. On the announcement, Mr. Jason Kenney, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism stated:

“Relations between Ireland and Canada are already close, based on shared cultural and democratic traditions. The expansion of the International Experience Canada initiative will create new economic opportunities and further strengthen the bonds between our countries, ensuring that our longstanding partnership endures well into the future.”

Press Office

05 October 2012

Notes for Editors

Working Holiday Programme

The Working Holiday Programme started in 2003 with the aim of allowing young Irish and Canadian people to live and work in the other country for a period of up to 12 months. The programme is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35.

From a 2003 quota of 100, the number of places has grown steadily each year with the quota for 2012 recently being set at 5,350 places (up from 5,000 in 2011). Among the new amendments is the extension from one to two years and an increase in the quota to 6,350 in 2013 and 10,700 (double that of 2012) in 2014.

Canada and Ireland

Some 14% of Canada’s 34.6m population claimed Irish descent in the most recent census. An estimated 105,000 Canadians visited the island of Ireland in 2011

In 2011, total trade (merchandise and services) exceeded €2.3billion

Canada is now attracting one quarter of all Irish investment abroad. Some 60 Irish companies now have a presence in Canada employing over 6,000 Canadians.

Ireland is the 4th largest recipient of Canada’s overseas investment with some 80 Canadian companies based here.