Ásta R. Jóhannesdóttir, Iceland’s minister for social affairs and Nancy Allan, minister of labor immigration in Manitoba, Canada, signed a declaration of intent yesterday on facilitating opportunities for Icelandic citizens to work in Manitoba.
Jóhannesdóttir said she is grateful for Canada’s friendly gesture, however adding, “I realize that an agreement like this might cause mixed feelings. It is always difficult to watch skilled people leave the country.”
A construction site in Iceland in 2008. Manitoba requires construction workers. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The agreement creates a basis for cooperation on offering Icelanders with professional skills temporary employment in Manitoba; an initiative of the local authorities. A delegation of Canadian officials is expected to arrive in Iceland soon to finalize the procedure, Morgunbladid reports.
“No country in the world is closer connected to Manitoba than Iceland,” said Allan. The largest group of people of Icelandic descent (descendants of Icelanders who migrated to North America at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century) live in Manitoba.
“Temporary employment gives Icelandic workers the chance to do an important job and then perhaps increase their knowledge and return to Iceland if they want to,” Allan said, explaining that Manitoba primarily needs construction workers, people with a background in information technology and energy.
A meeting to present employment opportunities for Icelanders in Canada, especially Manitoba, will be held at the University of Iceland on March 13.
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