Expats return to woo more workers

People interested in working in Canada will be able to meet expats who have already made that move at a jobs expo at the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork City on Wednesday.

The Working Abroad Expo, which also features Australian companies, is to be attended by a delegation from Calgary which is bringing 13 Irish employees over for the event.

One of the Calgary companies — Tarpon Energy Services, which recruited 30 Irish workers following a similar expo last October — is back for more.

Industrial electrician Eric O’Callaghan, 32, from Cork City, joined the company and has since recruited seven friends.

“Working in Canada has been great so far,” said Mr O’Callaghan. “Tarpon has been very accommodating in helping me with visas, relocation, and starting my new life. I’m earning great money, which makes the transition to Canada easier and my life a lot more comfortable. Since my arrival, I have recommended Tarpon to seven of my friends from Ireland, some are single, some have families.”

Tarpon’s HR manager, Julie O’Sullivan, said its policy is to support successful Irish applicants by paying for their initial flight to Canada, as well as the first two weeks of accommodation in the country, while providing safety training.

“We help successful candidates by setting them up with a lawyer to guide them through the work permit process at no cost to them,” said Ms O’Sullivan. “Our human resources team will assist applicants through every step of the process to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan started a campaign in March 2012 to find 90,000 skilled workers in the next five to 10 years.

Reports of lucrative packages, relocation, and visa assistance, as well as locals who go out of their way to make people feel at home, are attracting waves of Irish people.

Patrick O’Leary, 30, a welder in Charleville before he joined Behlen Industries in January, > currently works in Brandon, Manitoba.

“What comes to mind first is why didn’t I do this years ago... just get on with my life,” said Mr O’Leary. “I can’t explain how good the people have been here, the Canadians are just great. They set us up with an apartment, bought us furniture and got us started. There are seven of us from all over Ireland [working in the company]. Each came out on their own and now we are all friends. I’m loving the shift work; it’s varied and give me a freedom.”

Stephen McLarnon of the Working Abroad Expo visited Calgary in November to get feedback on Irish job placements.

He said that, according to the Canadian exhibitors, Irish candidates who came through the door were well-prepared and had done their research — there were serious contenders for top jobs.

Australia remains the most popular new home of choice of the Irish after Britain. “I’m delighted to see that Australia has sent a superb delegation to help Irish people cut through the red tape, making the processing more transparent,” Mr McLarnon said.

The Working Abroad Expo takes place at the Silver Springs Hotel on Wednesday, Mar 6, from 12pm to 7pm.

* www.workingabroad.net

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