March marks six months since we launched Moving2Ireland, and what better of celebrating this milestone than by taking a look back at some of the key lessons we have learned in our first six months on the job.
As you may know, Moving2Ireland is a sister-site of the award-winning Moving2Canada site, and much like it’s older sibling, Moving2Ireland was created to help newcomers and those returning to Ireland settle into their new, or old, home as seamlessly as possible. Our site went live on September 1, 2018 and was jam-packed with useful content on everything from immigration and planning to information on accommodation and banking. We received lots of positive feedback from our community, and had the opportunity to share the finished product with a number of media outlets in Ireland and further afield.
However, as happy as we were with the site on day one, we knew that there was so much more we needed to do to ensure that Moving2Ireland was as informative and helpful as possible for our expanding community. With that in mind, here are six lessons we have learned in the first six months of Moving2Ireland.
1: Life in Ireland is different in 2019 than it was in 2009 — even moreso than we thought!
I left Ireland for Vancouver in 2008 not knowing how long I would be away for. However, given the economic crash that hit Ireland soon after, it quickly became clear that my move to Canada may be more permanent than I initially realized. Having initially created Moving2Canada to cater to the needs of mainly Irish emigrants, I also know that this is a feeling shared by many of my generation.
However, Ireland never stopped being home and I would continue to venture back to my family in Kerry a couple of times a year. During these trips home, the one thing that struck me each time I arrived back in Ireland was how much it had changed. Sure, there are more burrito restaurants, gin joints and sushi bars around now than there was in 2008, but the real change has been much more substantive than that.
As a society, Ireland has changed significantly over the past decade, with the success of the same-sex marriage referendum and the repeal of the 8th Amendment exemplifying this. On top of that, despite the economic crash, life in Ireland remained very diverse, and now as employment has picked up, more and more non-Irish are opting to make Ireland their new home. A Eurostat report from 2016 highlighted that almost 12 percent of Ireland’s population was born abroad, meaning that Ireland has the sixth highest proportion of foreign nationals in the EU.
For us at Moving2Ireland, it has been refreshing to see life in Ireland change so positively in recent years, and we have been excited to hear how newcomers and returning emigrants alike have found Ireland upon moving there.
2: Returning Irish emigrants face a number of obstacles when moving home
Moving back home is never going to be a piece of cake, no matter how long you have been away for. However, since launching Moving2Ireland, I have seen first-hand the challenges that many returning emigrants face. Issues around higher university tuition fees, ineligibility for maternity benefit and protracted waiting times for spousal work permits are three of the biggest stumbling blocks facing those wishing to return home.
I raised these issues in a meeting with Minister for the Diaspora, Ciaran Cannon and Minister of State, Brendan Griffin in Dublin last November, and was pleased to see that the government acted to reduce the number of mandatory driving lessons for returning Irish emigrants from 12 to six. Looking forward, I am excited to welcome Minster Cannon to Vancouver later this month to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and to continue this dialogue further.
3: Dublin’s tech talent knows no bounds
As the founder of two immigration information websites and a successful recruitment firm, I was conscious of the appeal that Dublin possessed, particularly when it came to attracting tech talent. However, it was only after launching Moving2Ireland and engaging closely with members of our community from Irish and international backgrounds that I gained a fuller appreciation of the magnitude of the talent in Dublin at present — and the needs of employers looking for even more talented workers. Liaising further with the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and Enterprise Ireland, as well as a number of the city’s most successful multinational firms, has given me additional insights into the innovative work that continues to be done in Dublin and around Ireland.