Foreigners offered cash to relocate at FAS jobs fair


Relocation packages of up to £30,000 are now being offered by some high technology companies to attract skilled overseas workers to come to Ireland.

Some 4,000 job applicants from the Czech Republic attended the Jobs Ireland recruitment exhibition in Prague over the weekend where 15 companies from Ireland set out their wares in an effort to plug the skills shortage on the home market.

This is FAS's first exhibition in eastern Europe and on this occasion the emphasis was on job opportunities in information technology and construction - two of the sectors with the greatest number of vacancies.

At the exhibition, the latest arm of the Jobs Ireland programme - an interactive website which is expected to give prospective employers access to 100,000 potential job applicants - was officially launched by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Ms O'Rourke.

The new e-recruitment facility on the website will allow employers advertise job vacancies, browse through jobseekers' CVs and forward emails to prospective job applicants. In turn, jobseekers internationally will be able to display their CVs and electronically distribute these to employers, send e-mail messages to employers, conduct searches and browse for jobs.

The existing site which is funded through a Public Private Partnership provides information on the practicalities of working and living in Ireland with details on taxation, property, visas, education and culture.

At the launch, the Minister said she was hugely impressed by the quality of the people who attended the Prague jobs fair. She added that given Ireland's virtual full employment and the 40,000 vacancies that exist in the economy, overseas job fairs are likely to be a feature of FAS's recruitment programme for some time to come.

Companies exhibiting at the Prague fair also commented on the quality of the people who attended the fair. Most said that they will be bringing Czech citizens over to Ireland for more detailed interviews over the next few weeks. Mototrola recruitment specialist, Ms Siobhan Homan, said Motorola will be bringing 10 Czechs to Ireland for further interviews, having conducted a series of technical screening interviews in Prague. Motorola employs 1,500 people in Dublin and 500 in Cork and currently has 100 vacancies for high technology personnel.

"It's definitely worth our while to come here. This event will secure a number of people for us. We have already hired three people from a FAS jobs fair in Newfoundland. It also allows us to set up associations with local recruitment agencies - that's very important," said Ms Homan.

She added that Motorola offers a full relocation package for overseas workers coming to Ireland. This package can vary from £5,000 to £30,000 depending on individual circumstances.

The exhibition in Prague will be followed by similar roadshows in Newfoundland, the UK, Germany and Russia. The ultimate aim of the programme is to get an extra 200,000 people to live and work in Ireland over the next five years.

FAS spokesman Greg Craig said when the skills shortage first emerged in 1997-98, it was confined to a small number of sectors such as electronics, software and construction. "It is now virtually ubiquitous," he said. Almost 38 per cent of all businesses now have vacancies and a third of all companies surveyed by the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland reported that vacancies took more than two months to fill.