Categorised | Local, News, Western Australia

Unprepared Irish arrivals adding to welfare strain

There has been a sharp increase in "distressed calls" to Irish welfare groups in Perth.

There has been a sharp increase in “distressed calls” to Irish welfare groups in Perth.

The number of newly-arrived Irish making desperate calls to Perth’s emigrant support associations is on the rise, community groups say.

Western Australia based groups, the Claddagh Association and Friends of Sinn Féin have both reported a substantial increase in the number of distressed calls from young Irish.

The majority of the calls are relating to a shortage of work or money while other calls are more sinister, it has been claimed.

Tom Quinn from the Claddagh Association expressed his frustration at the lack of preparation made by younger Irish landing in Perth.

Irish people should not be allowed to enter Australia unless they have a return ticket and insurance, he said.

“It’s just a lack of common sense,” Mr Quinn said.

“One man called us on Good Friday. He arrived here three weeks before with $3,000 in his pocket and he thought it was going to last forever. He just made some bad decisions and he had spent it all already.”

Mr Quinn said people need to understand the streets of Perth are not lined with gold, and that they are going to need their own supply of money when they get here.

“We’ve noticed that the boys are throwing away money,” he said.

“The only times girls have problems is when they’ve had accidents, which is different.

“We’ve also just had a case this week where a girl rented a room in a house and less than 24 hours after moving in, the door got busted down because the bloke that owned the house was selling drugs.

“She was the first one in the firing line, and she got a smack in the face and a knife was held to her throat,” he explained.

Mr Quinn believes that things are only going to get worse due to the growing number of Irish people making their way to Perth with lofty expectations of immediate employment.

“They’re arriving and they’ve been told we’re waiting out here ready to give them jobs,” he said.

“They’re arriving here unprepared.”

Friends of Sinn Féin member Dean Keating spoke to the Irish Echo about the difficulties Irish workers are having with 457 visas and the Irish perception of the Australian dream.

As previously reported in the Irish Echo, some unscrupulous employers are getting rid of their sponsored staff as economic conditions tighten.

The sponsored worker then has just 28 days to find a new sponsor.

“I’ve been involved with Cairde Sinn Féin for about a year now, and we had never had any queries in relation to losing jobs up until probably five or six weeks ago and in a short period of time we’ve had about a dozen,” he said.

“It’s a lot of tradesmen, carpenters and electricians and one or two of them were actually working up north and came back to Perth after being let go and they were looking for sponsorship because they were on 457 visas.”

He has expressed his concern over the way Australia is being portrayed as a land of opportunity in Ireland.

“With the expos back home, people think they can get off the plane in Perth and there will be employers waiting at the gate for them, but it’s not that way at all,” he said.

The concerns came as the Claddagh Association launched an information booklet for Irish immigrants in the West Australian capital.

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