Football game delays immigration mission

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Employers encouraged to sign for November trip to Ireland

If the subject is immigration, a little cultural sensitivity never goes astray.

So although the government of Newfoundland and Labrador was gearing up for a late-September mission to Ireland to promote immigration to this province, the trip has been rescheduled in the name of a beloved Irish sporting event.

The provincial government’s mission is being led by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, with the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism, bringing along employers from Newfoundland and Labrador interested in recruiting Irish workers — an attempt to convince the workers to settle in this province.

The recruitment mission was scheduled for Sept. 18-27 and advertised as such.

However, it has been rescheduled to Nov. 7-14.

“There’s another event going on in Ireland, some kind of a football game or something, and they felt with the interest in that sporting event that it may not be a good time to be doing a job recruitment fair,” Advanced Education and Skills Minister Joan Shea said in an interview Wednesday.

“That was from Ireland, the change.”

The sporting event is not a 2014 World Cup qualifier for the Republic of Ireland — the team plays Austria Sept. 10, then Germany on Oct. 11 and neither of the matches is being held in Ireland.

The sporting event in question is more likely the Gaelic Athletic Association’s All Ireland Football Final, to be held Sept. 22 at Croke Park in Dublin and typically packing more than 82,000 people into the stadium for a game of Gaelic football.

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Yet, Shea said, come November, the province’s recruitment mission will go ahead. She estimated it will cost the province $45,000-$55,000.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador we have more people employed than ever. Our economy is really hot right now,” she said. “In saying that, we have pockets where some employers are finding it difficult to fill positions.”

She said employers are welcome to join the trip to Ireland, to seek workers to fill their ranks for the long term. Interested companies are being encouraged to contact the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism by mid-October.

“We had a mission in Ireland two years ago, but we were part of the Atlantic provinces at that time, so we decided to do our own. Other provinces do their own,” Shea said.

There will be room for 15 companies on the trip. Nine employers have already expressed interest, though none are confirmed as part of the mission. 

“This is about immigration rather than temporary foreign workers, and I want to be clear about that,” Shea said.

“We know immigration will play an important role to help us (fill) our labour market demands and grow our population. So this is a proactive measure regarding immigration to try to help employers find the labour that they need.”

The job fair will run three days.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism, Department of Advanced Education and Skills, Gaelic Athletic Association

Geographic location: Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Austria Germany Ireland.The Croke Park Dublin

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  • Bill
    September 17, 2013 - 13:35

    Apparently the comment by Shea " some kind of a football game or something" was a snide response to an earlier cancellation of a trip to St John's by an Irish delegation at the beginning of August. The Irish had said the trip was cancelled to avoid clashing with "some sort of row-boating on a pond or something" on the first Wednesday in August.