From the sound of the article the recruitment is mainly for Alberta whose economy is booming. I am not sure that rural areas outside of oil and gas production sectors are particularly booming. In rural Manitoba where I live there is no boom. There is even a moratorium on hog barn development!
I am surprised that the unemployment rate is so high in Germany when I thought they had a labor shortage and imported labor from poorer areas of the EU. Maybe this enforces downward pressure on wages and erodes the social safety net. It probably increases racism and intolerance as well as the working class anger at deterioriating condions will become directed against minorities and "guest workers".
German tradespeople eager to immigrate to Western Canada
Last Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2007 | 11:48 PM ET
Western Canadian companies are holding job fairs in central Germany to recruit hundreds of skilled labourers needed for the boom in the oil, mining and construction industries.
The job fairs are well-attended as Germany is struggling with high unemployment — with a national unemployment rate of 9.3 per cent in February. The job fairs have been held for the past three years, but the Canadians found that the interest — and the number of companies wanting to recruit — has grown dramatically.
At one job fair in the city of Essen, where the unemployment rate is closer to 20 per cent, more than 1,000 German tradespeople crowded into a convention centre to talk to representatives of Canadian companies.
"It's terribly hard to find work here," Thomas Freiberg, a 42-year-old industrial electrician, said in German.
Freiburg said he was employed for the past 15 years until the factory where he worked closed last summer.
"I've submitted over 50 applications for various jobs. I've had a few interviews, but nothing positive, no job offers. So my family and I have decided to try and find something in Canada."
Freiburg said he knows it may be hard to move his family. His children, a 10-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter, are worried about leaving school friends behind and having to speak English.
But he said his family could forge a new life in Canada.
"My wife and I visited last year as tourists and we were really impressed. The country is beautiful and we met friendly, nice people. It's a bit scary to think about leaving here, but Canada is our number one choice of places we'd like to live. The idea just works for us, right now."
Germany's economy has been slumping in part because the mining, manufacturing and steel-making sectors have fallen on hard times.
In presentations at the job fair, the unemployed workers, some with baby carriages, listened attentively to the virtues of Western Canada, its wide open spaces, its outdoor lifestyles, its proximity to nature.
Owners of the firms on the lookout for help said they hope to have workers from German on the job in six to eight weeks. The new employees will be given temporary work visas that are valid for up to two years.
Company representatives said they do not think the economic boom in Western Canada is going to fade any time soon.
Joe Bova, an owner of Man-Shield Construction in Winnipeg, said experienced tradespeople are in demand.
"If this was just a temporary offer of employment, we wouldn't be here," Bova said. "We are not interested in short-term employees. We are looking for people who are interested in immigrating to Canada and making a living for them and their families."
Bova himself immigrated to Canada from Italy in 1962. He was in Germany to hire bricklayers.
"These people want a chance, not just to feed their children, because I think they can do that very well in Germany, by the way, but to give their children a better life. And I think they see Canada as that kind of country. And I'm very moved by this, being an immigrant myself. I'm touched."
Bernd Reuscher, an Edmonton resident who works for the German government, said Canada has much to offer.
"Germans are active people. That's why they like Canada. Going to the Rockies, canoeing, hunting, fishing. We have only four people per kilometres in Canada in Alberta. Here, they have 1,000 persons per square kilometre."
Christa Klemm, a carpenter, said a job in Canada would mean a fresh start. She said she has visited Nova Scotia, where she spoke to general contractors who encouraged her to look for work in Alberta.
"I've heard women in Canada are able to work in jobs that are traditionally for men and there isn't much discrimination," she said in German.
"I've got the highest training you can get and I've worked on and off for years, but when I apply for full-time, they always hire a man, first."
Klemm exchanged phone numbers with a few companies at the job fair. She wants to improve her English first, though.
"Finding a way in definitely seems easier there because the companies badly need tradespeople right now. Here nobody is hiring. I can walk the streets with all of my experience, for years, and not find anything," she said.
"For me, going to Canada is the answer."