Government campaign to entice Irish emigrants home
30 July 2006
By Eamon Quinn
The government is planning a $300,000 (236,000) campaign targeted at encouraging illegal Irish emigrants in New York to return to fill skilled jobs at home in Ireland.
The government is planning a $300,000 (236,000) campaign targeted at encouraging illegal Irish emigrants in New York to return to fill skilled jobs at home in Ireland. The campaign, which is scheduled to start in the autumn, will include flying Revenue Commissioners staff to New York to advise Irish emigrants on tax and pension issues.
Irish immigration groups in the United States have estimated that there are as many as 70,000 undocumented and illegal Irish people working and living in America.
Many have been working in the US for up to 15 years and face threats, including new legislation to fine employers $100,000 for employing illegal staff, that could force them out of work. State employment agency, Fas, is planning to advertise the campaign in newspapers and run seminars across New York.
I feel there is an obligation on ourselves as the state employment authority when we are in a situation where there are plenty of jobs and to give them the option to comeback, said Gregory Craig, corporate affairs director at Fas.
For a while we have asked what are we doing for our own people in New York.
Craig was in New York last week working on preliminary plans for the campaign.
We would hope to have the Revenue Commissioners with us and the pension people from social welfare, said Craig.
The concern is that if you are in your mid-30s or mid-40s and have worked in the US for 15 years and have done reasonably well, they need to know what the pension situation is and they need to know from the Revenue where they stand.
Fas said the campaign would be innovative because it would be providing advice to potential recruits for the first time. However, the initial newspaper advertising campaign is likely to avoid specific references to the undocumented Irish.
Meanwhile, Fas is coordinating a visit by up to 12 building companies from the Construction Industry Federation to Warsaw next month to try and recruit Polish engineers and surveyors.