Irish people have been warned that they must "act fast" if they wish to secure a working holiday visa for Canada this year.
Kilkenny based migration experts VisaFirst have reported that a huge surge in demand for visas from Irish workers in the past few months means that there are less than 500 places left for the programme this year.
Irish workers are allocated 7,700 of the visas that can be issued without job offers in 2017, but already 5,418 have been issued and a further 1,794 have been applied for, leaving just 488 open spaces.
Applications in the first three months of this year have already surpassed the entire number of applications from 2016, a substantial increase.
Last year, over 1,000 places went unused.
The International Experience Canada (IEC) programme issues the visas, allowing Irish workers aged 18-35 to work and travel in Canada.
Edwina Shanahan, Managing Director of VisaFirst said: “This year’s work programme looks likely to fill the quota – perhaps before H1 2017 is out!
"So anyone who is hoping to be a part of this programme really needs to get organised now."
In order to apply for the visa, you need a valid passport, sufficient funds to support your stay in Canada (C$2500/€1,750), valid health insurance and a clean criminal record.