Launch of Youth Emigration Research – ‘Time to Go?’
The National Youth Council of Ireland’s (NYCI) report ‘Time to Go?’ launched today (09.05.13) in the National Library of Ireland, Dublin 2, is the first qualitative study exploring the experience and impact of emigration on Ireland’s youth over the past two years. The results provide an insight into the opportunities and difficulties faced by young emigrants in Canada, the UK and beyond.
The main findings from the research include:
Reasons for emigrating
Many young Irish emigrants are moving abroad to experience new horizons and access greater opportunities.
Limited employment options and lack of opportunities at home were cited as a determining factor prompting their decision to leave.
Use of ICT
Skype, free web apps and other ICTs were regarded by research participants as essential for keeping in touch with home in a cost effective way, and many stated that they spoke more frequently to their parents now than when they lived in Ireland.
Adjustment problems and challenges
Emigrants still encounter significant adjustment problems and often struggle with periods of intense homesickness, stress over financial concerns, accommodation, and job searching.
But many young people stated that their emigration was much harder for their parents, than it was for them.
Plans for the Future
The vast majority of participants interviewed expressed the intention and desire to return home after a period of time provided they could get a job.
“In the past 2 years over a quarter of our population has been affected by the emigration of a close family member, and half of our 18 – 24 years olds have said they would consider emigrating themselves, so it is vital that this issue is given the consideration it deserves, and that a dedicated Government policy response is developed to support our young emigrants and tackle the challenges they face,”* said Marie-Claire McAleer, Senior Research and Policy Officer at NYCI.
Recommendations as a result of this report include:
Appoint a Minister with responsibility for emigration policy and for responding to and connecting with the Irish abroad.
Government should develop and implement a strategy for emigrants.
Fund an existing agency that operates in the Republic of Ireland to provide assistance to prospective emigrants intending to emigrate.
Centralised Data Collection on Emigrants to inform the development of a policy response.
Launch a campaign to promote foreign languages at second level and third level education.
Department of Social Protection, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to collaborate in the creation and maintenance of a portal site which would function to map and direct the user to existing websites providing information at a local level.
Promotion of Internships, Work Placements or Employment Opportunities Abroad.
Officially launching the report, Ms Marian Harkin, MEP said:
“This is a particularly valuable piece of research in that it doesn't simply document the phenomenon of emigration, it also examines appropriate policy responses that need to be put in place both before and after people emigrate. However "Time to Go?" focuses on people as much as policy and indeed the policy responses have their genesis in the collective responses of our emigrants”.
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of 54 voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.
*Source of figures: NYCI Poll conducted by Red C, October 2012. 1003 interviews were conducted and 931 of those interviewed were Irish citizens providing a sample error of + or – 3%.