More refugees expected to receive job offers following N.S. recruitment trip to Middle East
Health-care and skilled construction workers most in demand
Another wave of skilled refugees could be in line for jobs in health care and construction in Nova Scotia after a provincial delegation to a global labour summit in Jordan.
Two companies joined officials from the province on the trip where a number of job interviews took place earlier this month.
A job fair was a part of the event which brought together displaced people in the region with potential employers from around the world.
The visit was a followup to a provincial mission to Kenya last fall, which resulted in a number of conditional job offers to continuing care assistants.
It's part of a provincial strategy to find workers for jobs in critical services that suffer from understaffing.
"We're really looking at recruitment elements that will be transformational for our province. We need many workers in our construction industry and our health-care industries," said Jennifer L'Esperance, a senior executive director of immigration and population growth with Nova Scotia's Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration.
The department and the office of health professionals recruitment met with 124 people on the trip.
The UN refugee agency has since also provided a list of an additional 130 possible health-care workers, L'Esperance said. They have not yet been vetted for job and immigration ready criteria.
"The next step is really looking for that job offer and that's what we're hoping to do now that we're home is connect with some of those employers that may be interested," L'Esperance said.
Work will start straight away to try to match up some of the candidates with employers.
Dora Construction, one of the employers on the trip, expects to make conditional job offers in the next week after carrying out interviews in Jordan.
"I did about 15 interviews for formwork carpenters as well as some people with drywall and that type of experience," said Betsy Sisco, the company's head of recruitment and immigration. "Overall, it went really, really well."
The organization was there to try to hire qualified workers it has been struggling to find in Nova Scotia.
"Construction is booming and there's just not enough individuals entering the workforce to be able to meet the demand," Sisco said. "We're still coming up short on being able to take on new projects and completing the ones that we have efficiently."
A number of the candidates are Syrian, she said, and those who receive offers will get them under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, which helps skilled refugees immigrate to Canada and provides settlement supports.
A health-care company was a part of the delegation and also interviewed possible workers.
Nova Scotia praised for proactive approach
The group Talent Beyond Boundaries, whose mission is to help displaced people, hosted the summit.
It holds a database of around 60,000 refugees who are interested in moving internationally and are screened for immigration requirements before their qualifications and skill sets are matched with employers.
"The particular candidates that were part of the job fair, some of them are in a camp background and some of them are living in urban settings, but they don't necessarily have full working rights," explained Lara Dyer, the Canada Director of Talent Beyond Boundaries.
The conference provided possible life-changing opportunities for people who have ended up in difficult situations through no fault of their own, she said, and is pleased to see Nova Scotia play a big part in that.
"The two companies that came from Canada were both from Nova Scotia, which I think just highlights how proactive the province has been in taking advantage of all of this," Dyer said.
The people who receive job offers will then begin the immigration process which could take anywhere from six to ten months before they arrive in Nova Scotia.