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Canada seeks thousands of Irish immigrants urgently

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Canada is seeking tens of thousands of Irish worker to fill a wide range of jobs, the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland announced last week.

The country is seeking to fill a labor shortage caused by a strong economy, massive infrastructure projects and booming fisheries, mining, oil and natural gas industries.

"I'm hearing numbers like between 30,000 and 40,000 in construction alone," Ambassador Loyola Hearn told the Irish Independent.

This year, all 5,000 holiday work visas open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35, were quickly snapped up. Immigration officials have increased the quota to 5,350 for 2012.

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The Canadian embassy held a jobs fair at Croke Park in Dublin last weekend focusing on job opportunities in the four Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. There is also a huge demand for workers in the western provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Hearn says there will be more job fairs to come.

"We've surpassed the US now with emigration and are second behind Australia," he said.

The level of emigration and business between Canada and Ireland is such that the embassy is spearheading a campaign to establish regular direct flights between the two countries, he added.

The embassy -- along with the Dublin Airport Authority, Failte Ireland, Dublin City Council and Irish-Canadian business and community organizations -- is developing a business plan it hopes will result in one of the major airlines opening up a direct link in the near future.

It is estimated that around 10,000 Irish have already relocated to Canada over the past two years.

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