The Manitoba government wants to make it easier for workers from Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy to come to the province.

The Mediterranean Immigration Initiative will be launched in the new year, aimed at encouraging skilled workers from countries like Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain to work and live in Manitoba.

Government officials say the first step is to survey the province's business community to find out what types of skilled workers are needed here.

"What the province's role will be is identifying the candidates in these countries which have the skills to match those needs," Fanny Levy of the provincial nominee program said Wednesday.

To date, officials have identified a need for workers in the construction industry and in the food services sector.

Members of Winnipeg's Mediterranean communities say poor economies in their home nations are forcing people there to look for work in other countries, like Canada.

The province is hosting an information session on Jan. 16, at the Caboto Centre in Winnipeg, for employers interested in hiring workers from Mediterranean countries.

Click on the video player above to watch Jillian Taylor's report.