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Canada has proven to be one of the most popular locations for Irish emigrants over the past number of years. With some of the world's most rugged natural beauty, bustling metropolitan city centres and - perhaps most crucially - a thriving jobs market, the country's allure to those thinking about a move abroad looks set to continue into the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately such popularity comes at a cost as the number of Canadian working holiday visas made available to Irish nationals is limited, and so the demand often exceeds the supply.

We need only look at last year's numbers to be convinced of this. Some 6,000 visas were made available. Within 48 hours, they were all gone.

The application process for next year's Canadian working holiday visas is due to begin towards the end of January. 10,700 visas will be issued to Irish nationals  - the largest ever allocation, which suggests that Canada's population as a destination for Irish emigrants may actually still be on the increase.

With so many people aiming to cross the Atlantic, access to information becomes key: the more people know about their destination, the easier it will be for them to make the transition to a new place and way of life.

The Department of Foreign Affairs-funded Crosscare Migration Project aims to provide some help in this regard. The project will ask those with experience living and working in Canada what advice they would pass on to their successors. To facilitate the collation of information, the project has created a short survey that can be taken online (available here). This covers some core areas: employment, accommodation, social life, organisational support and general info & advice.

The accumulated information will then be published in time for the holiday visa application process in January. So if you've got some wise words to pass on, click on the link above. The survey takes about five minutes to complete. Consider it time well spent. Others will.

Only a week after being named the 'best place in the world' to do business by Forbes magazine, Ireland has now ranked first in the world for inward investment by quality and value and first in Europe for the number of investment jobs per capita.

The latest accolades appeared in the IBM Global Location Trends report, the purpose of which is to analyse key trends in the locations that corporations select to do business, along with foreign investment.

The news was greeted enthusiastically by the CEO of IDA Ireland, Barry O'Leary: 'I am pleased to see Ireland continuing to be the top performer in the world for quality and value of investment, resulting from Ireland’s success in attracting research and development activities in life sciences and ICT coupled with high-value investment in financial services.

'Ireland’s ranking as a leading destination for inward investment in Europe highlights our attractiveness for companies considering a location for their FDI [foreign direct investment] operations,' he continued. 'This survey reminds us of the international and highly competitive nature of FDI.'

 

Up to 300 new jobs are to be created at  a new Dublin-based data analytics centre.

Though open since July, the Insight data analytics research centre will officially launch today, Thursday the 12th of December.

The aim of the new centre is to transform the masses of data generated by today's IT-rich society into actionable knowledge. According to Professor Barry Smyth of UCD :

'The ultimate aim is to help people make better decisions by harnessing the data that is available to us all. We have entered the age of "Big Data" and with it we are witnessing a quantum leap in the quantity and quality of information drawn from all aspects of our lives.'

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the centre is a joint initiative between University College Dublin, University College Cork,  Dublin City University and NUI Galway. Additional funding for the initiative will come from over 40 corporate partners including Intel, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft.

Insight's areas of research will include machine learning and data mining; optimisation and decision analytics; and media analytics.

 

Forbes magazine, one of the largest and most influential international business publications, has ranked Ireland the 'best country for business' in the world.

The  accolade must surely be considered a huge boost to Ireland's international business reputation, especially given Forbes' global stature as a reliable touchstone for the business community.

The rankings were compiled using a range of criteria, including property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. These were then applied to some 145 countries.

The article claimed that is spite of the recession, “Ireland scored well across the board when measuring its business friendliness. It is the only nation that ranks among the top 15 per cent of countries in every one of the 11 metrics we examined to gauge the best countries.”

Among the stated big draws for international companies were Ireland's highly educated workforce,  and the country's low corporate tax rate.

Other factors that influenced international businesses' attitudes towards Ireland included lower labour costs and the large pool of available talent given its current rates of unemployment.

Ireland displaces New Zealand from top position into second spot, while Hong Kong placed third on the list.

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