Good jobs news at last…thousands of miles away

THE Canadians are in town – and they want 80,000 of our workers to go west.

Good luck to them. Judging by the exodus of the last few years many of our unemployed young have already left.

But those remaining are likely to spend this week frantically googling ‘Canadian visa’ and ‘British Columbia’.

That’s where the jobs are. Along with Toronto, London, Sydney, Berlin, Auckland, Boston… just about anywhere except here.

The arrival of a dollar-waving delegation from the British Columbia Construction Association show that there are good jobs stories in the news.

It’s just a pity that many of them involve positions located thousands of miles away. Last week the Sydney Morning Herald reported that one Perth job agency was so overrun with migrant Irish workers that they felt they had “half of Dublin in it on a Friday afternoon”.

With reports like this one wonders just who will show up to the Dublin Working Abroad Expo next weekend at the RDS?

Whoever and however many they are, they’re likely to be former workers in our once glorious building industry – the driver and eventual destruction of the Irish economy.

The Canadians have surely come to the right place.

Because when it comes to construction booms, as we’ve seen, you’ll never beat the Irish. (As long as the Canadians don’t ask us to fireproof their buildings that is).

In fact, we’re so well suited to what Canadians need that the delegation is not bothering to go anywhere else at present. They reckon that Irish people alone could fill up to 80,000 jobs in British Columbia – population 4.5million but ten times the size of Ireland.

The construction will be in residential (no problem there, see above), mining, oil and gas. A lot of it sounds like dirty work – but it’s lucrative and the Canadians are crying out for us.

Which bring us to the point.

Sadly, there’ll be plenty of tears if the Canadians fill their quotas. Skilled tradesmen, most of whom are older that the post-college Coogee Beach crowd, will contemplate uprooting themselves and their families.

People will prepare to say goodbye to parents, to relatives, to their local GAA clubs, their friends.

Many of them, with the exception of the odd trip home, won’t return.

Have no doubt the coming of the Canadians is good news. it’s just a pity that – like all good news nowadays – it comes with a bittersweet twist.

This post first appeared in the Evening Herald, February 27, 2012.

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