“We believe that those opportunities are there and we want to encourage you, come on home. Come on home.”
– Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Noting the nation’s urgent need to restore what she claimed is a dwindling workforce, Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Thursday called for Barbados’ skilled diaspora to “come home” and take advantage of career opportunities open to them.
Speaking at a Prime Ministerial Global Town Hall Meeting for Barbadians Living the Diaspora, Mottley highlighted key features of a new immigration bill in the works that aims to make it easier for Barbadian descendants to migrate to the nation, which would help close a projected gap of some 80,000 to 100,000 people in the workforce in the long-term.
“For those who also have persons who are their grandparents or great-grandparents or whatever, come home and there are opportunities here to help build out,” the prime minister urged.
“We believe you can engage the world in the digital and creative economy from here. We are putting a major thrust out in life sciences as we go forward; renewable energy…”
Mottley added, “So, Barbadians who have skills in these areas of new economy can come home, can engage the world from here… We believe that those opportunities are there and we want to encourage you, come on home. Come on home.”
Mottley welcomes Barbados diaspora to “join us”
The prime minister acknowledged that there will “always” be a few individual naysayers who may have had poor experiences, but assured that “for the most part, the country is wanting and welcoming you, whether full-time or part-time in this virtual world, to be able to join us”.
“For those of you who have doubts,” Mottley said, “talk to your family, talk to others and let’s be real, transitioning is not easy for anybody and therefore there may be a few hiccups here and there. But at the end of the day, we’re going to try to make it as easy for you as possible.”
She also encouraged diaspora who have not already registered with overseas embassies, consulates or high commissions to do so as the Barbados government is often challenged in finding diaspora who can provide services or skills when needed.
Noting that she has asked Cabinet ministers to ensure the government has a working database of skilled Barbadian diaspora abroad, Mottley asserted, “I think we need the continued engagement of our citizens both in terms of investment and in terms of skills.”