The latest migration figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal a jump in the numbers of highly qualified graduates choosing to emigrate this year.

The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has raised concerns about the increase in young Irish people with third level degrees who are opting to leave Ireland.

“More than half of the people (52.8%) who emigrated from Ireland last year had a third level qualification or higher. Between April last year and April of this year, it is estimated that nearly 40,000 third level graduates have chosen to leave Ireland for work. Since this Government took up office, an estimated 149,000 third level graduates have left Ireland. This figure is extremely high,” said Deputy Calleary.

“It is a shame that having invested heavily in our young people’s education, we are losing so many highly qualified graduates to jobs in other countries. I have raised concerns for some time now that graduates are not being given the support they need to gain experience and begin their careers here in Ireland. For instance, the starting salary of graduate nurses and midwives has been slashed over the past three years from €28,539 to €22,000. Many are choosing to go abroad for better pay, conditions and experience rather than working alongside colleagues who are at the same level, but earning 20% more.

“Meanwhile, newly recruited public servants are at a significant disadvantage relative to staff recruited before 2011. This cannot be justified. There is no doubt that it is contributing to the continued brain drain from Ireland.

“At a time when unemployment figures are decreasing, it is unacceptable that the number if highly qualified graduates leaving Ireland is now increasing. There is clearly a significant void in supports and opportunities for graduates that must be addressed without delay.”