Sounds similar to the lives of most BIDER readers except better because she has a one day a week job and Ireland has a public health care system. I sympathize with Europeans who are experiencing high unemployment and no job prospects. But, being an American, I'm naturally most concerned with the plight of Americans including myself and my friends and family who are suffering because of the depression in the United States. The first thought that came into my head when I started reading this article was, how are thousands of Irish people able to go to Canada, yet, it is so difficult for Americans to live and work in Canada? I would like to know the number of Americans who have moved to Canada since the recession hit because if I could find a full time job in Canada or even temporary employment that would give me a work visa, I would accept without hesitation. Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Vancouver - I'd move to any one of those cities in a heartbeat. This article makes it seem like it's a piece of cake for anyone to abandon their home and move to Canada. I've been advocating leaving the country for months and even I know that it takes some time to work out the logistics, find a job abroad, and get a work visa.
For biochemistry graduate Laura Cross, Tuesdays are special. She wakes early, wanders down to Arnotts department store on Henry Street, slips on her uniform and spends the day working in the underwear department.
One day a week fitting bras on plus-sized ladies is considered better-than-average work these days for an Irishwoman with an advanced degree and work experience; most of her fellow graduates can't even find that much.
The rest of the week, Ms. Cross, 23, waits for the dole cheque and reads up on the history and culture of British Columbia.
On Sept. 28, she will take the bus to the airport and fly to Vancouver, a work-study visa in hand and a number of job prospects in Canadian labs. Her boyfriend, a cabinetmaker who hasn't had work in two years, will join her in December.
Half a dozen of her friends and classmates are already there.
Canadians always laugh when I tell them that I need to find a Canadian man to marry so I can live in Canada. They often don't realize that I am dead serious. Five years ago when I was a naive college student who thought the world was my oyster, I would've told people that love conquers all. Now I tell people that Canadian citizenship conquers all. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been in love with Canada's natural beauty and multiculturalism. That they have national health care and is close to family and friends in the U.S. is are additional pluses. So, I'm not surprised that so many other people who are looking for better opportunities abroad are choosing to move to Canada.
On top of this, Ms. Cross is one of 2,500 young Irish people each year who are granted a work-travel visa; that number is capped but is "very heavily oversubscribed now," one official said. Before 2008, Irish visa applications fell below the quota.
A Canadian official said that the numbers for 2009 and the first half of 2010 are "much, much higher," though figures beyond 2008 are not yet available.
The new emigrants are either young and unemployed, like Ms. Cross, or they are older skilled workers with houses and established lives, who are abandoning it all in bankruptcy.
That describes electrician Gavin O'Brien, who left for Toronto this spring, abandoning his family house. In the peak of the boom, earning perhaps €150,000 a year in the overheated home-construction trade, he raised his mortgage payments to €3,000 a month in hopes of paying off the house within a few years: When the construction industry collapsed completely in 2008, the mortgage company refused to lower his payments. He offered to pay them €1,000 a month or to let them take the house, then got on a plane.
I think Ms. Cross and any other young person who has the opportunity to immigrate to Canada is making the right decision to leave for greener pastures. Of course, her well-paid professors with secure jobs tried to dissuade her from leaving Ireland and to stay in school for as long as possible! That is probably the worst advice you can give to a young person. Take out more loans to stay in school and still end up unemployed and overqualified for the few entry-level jobs left out there. I really wish these professors would stop giving life advice as if they know anything about the job market outside of academia:
Have any of you considered finding work in Canada and what has been your experience thus far? I'm expecting that most of you will say it's nearly impossible to find a job in Canada right now. If any of you have found success in securing a visa to stay in Canada, please, do share.
For young workers like Ms. Cross, the decision to migrate is less cataclysmic, but the choices are equally stark. "My professors were telling me that there was not going to be any work out there for a few years and we should just stay in school as long as we can," she said.
"But I decided to get out there and face the big bad world, and things are so bad that I just want to get up and get out, get away from all the difficulty. My sister's generation were probably the first one ever who could think of spending their whole life making a living in Ireland, but for the rest of us it's back to the old ways."