Nova Scotia says a health-care recruiting trip to Kenya led to dozens of conditional job offers for continuing care assistants.

The province said in a Wednesday release it led a trip to a Kenyan refugee camp in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The Health Association of Nova Scotia and senior care provider MacLeod Group were also involved.

Sixty-five continuing care assistants are expected to start arriving in mid-2023, the province said.

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“One of the biggest challenges we face is finding the right health-care professionals to fill the vacancies we have across Nova Scotia,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson in the release.

“There are talented and skilled people around the world who would love to come here, and we would love to have them.”

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The soon-to-be Nova Scotian newcomers were recruited through the federal Canadian government’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot.

The pilot helps skilled refugees immigrate to Canada and meet regional and provincial immigration requirements.

It aims to ease the immigration process by waiving application and biometric fees, speeding up the application process to six months, and covering the cost of pre-departure medical service. It also offers loans to cover travel costs and to help people settle in their new communities, the government said.

To date, 42 applicants have been supported by Nova Scotia, nearly half of whom are now employed in continuing care in the province.

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Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Barbara Adams said in the release that she looks forward to welcoming more people into the province’s workforce.

“As Nova Scotians age, they deserve to know the care they require will be ready for them where and when they need it,” said Adams, adding the newcomers will “help deliver this essential care across Nova Scotia.”

Bahati Ernestine Hategekimana, a former continuing care assistant and RefugePoint economic mobility consultant, said in the release that it’s valuable for employers and others to see the number of highly skilled and educated people who are living as refugees.

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“This program will continue to offer hope and solutions for refugees and their families to build their new lives here,” she said, “while contributing their skills to ease Nova Scotia’s labour shortages.”

This recruitment effort is part of the Nova Scotia government’s Action for Health strategy, which includes attracting and supporting more internationally trained health providers.

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