British Columbia Construction Association has been hiring Irish workers and hopes to employ more Irish workers in the future. In fact, next week they will hold job fairs in Dublin and Belfast.

The association hopes to hire 600 skilled workers. The BC Construction Association held its first job expo in Ireland in March 2012.

The association needs workers in more than 50 construction trades ranging from bricklayers to framing carpenters and power-line technicians. Skills Training Minister Shirley Bond told the Vancouver Sun, “Our staff will be providing seminars on working, living and investing in B.C.,and will provide important on-the-ground expertise and advice on immigration matters.” Bond also said that the program offers an accelerated pathway to permanent residency for eligible skilled foreign workers, international graduates, and qualified entrepreneurs and their families who plan to settle in British Columbia.

Danny O’Sullivan from Cork has good things to say about the association’s initiative. After an unsuccessful job search in Ireland, he took his sister’s advice to visit the association’s job fair in Cork and later emigrated. He told the PRI about his new position in Canada, “I like working. I like being useful and putting something back into the economy.” He added, “I’ve made a new life for myself.” O’Sullivan’s attempts to gain permanent residency have thus far been unsuccessful, but his current position is guaranteed until 2015.

Not everyone is happy with the association’s actions. Labor leaders in Canada argue that there are enough unionized Canadian workers to take any unfilled jobs. However, the provincial government predicts that there will be labor shortages in the future. According to the Vancouver Sun, even if one of every five students in high school in the province were to pursue a trade in the next three years, there still would not be enough workers to meet demand. Additionally, some companies do not want to hire union workers and employ Irish workers who can not quit because of their temporary visa.