Paddy come home

Dublin government officials in 'trench coats' are reportedly knocking on the doors of their countrymen in New Zealand begging them to come home and take up jobs in the booming Irish IT economy.

Dublin government officials in 'trench coats' are reportedly knocking on the doors of their countrymen in New Zealand begging them to come home and take up jobs in the booming Irish IT economy.

However, the Irish Consulate in Auckland denies its government is making such approaches, but says this could be the work of potential Irish employers.

Two months ago, the Eire government offered 100,000 work permits to help end massive labour shortages in the IT, construction, architecture and nursing sectors.

"The Irish government is going worldwide seeking suitably qualified people to work in Ireland. It's not just for Irish people. It's for anyone," says Honourary Consul General Rodney Walshe.

"Ireland is the second biggest exporter of computer software in the world."

Walshe says eligible people would be granted a two-year working visa, with the right to bring their family, but family members would be unable to work.

This could then be extended a further two years and neither would people be restricted to the same employer. But beforehand, people would need a job offer.

Walshe denies his government has staff knocking on the doors of its nationals and suggests it might be computer companies doing this.

"We are not doing that. It is up to them (emigrants) if they want to go back home," he says.

However, Barry O'Brien of IT recruiters, Enterprise, says one of his clients told him he recently had a visit from someone in a trench coat saying he was from the Irish government.

His client has been in IT for 20 years and is a senior project manager in Auckland on a six-figure salary.

"The 'official' was aware of his background and wanted to know what it would take to get him back to Ireland.

"But we placed him in a job. He said he would not go back home as the Irish weather is awful," O'Brien says.

To date, the Irish Consulate says only about six Kiwis have gone to Ireland under their new work visa scheme.

But they may be having more success with their nationals.

Peter Marwick of Candle IT&T Recruitment says recently a couple of his handful of Irish clients have returned home because of the opportunities now available over there.

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