In early November of last year, Winkler Mayor Martin Harder returned from a trip to Vienna, Austria.
Harder promoted the City of Winkler, and the opportunities it has for potential immigrants who would be a good fit.
In the past the city encouraged immigration to fill production employment, but this trip targeted professionals and business leaders. Harder met with skilled European doctors, pharmacists and engineers looking to make a new life in Winkler.
"Every immigration initiative trip that I've taken has been successful, including this one to Austria," said Harder. "I think I have half a dozen families now that have come this past year, to come to visit Winker, and (they) are certainly making applications in order to come here."
Unfortunately, Harder said, some of the possible immigrants are having a difficult time applying because of their older age and lack of English language skills.
"We have made some efforts to try to encourage our immigration department to look at some that are a little bit older and maybe don't quite have the language skills, because we feel very comfortable to be able to accept some, particularly for Europe, that would be able to integrate reasonably quickly, and certainly have the skills that we need, and we certainly realize that we have the jobs to offer."
Harder added another advantage to older applicants is that they tend to be more financially established.
"If you choose somebody who... has already demonstrated a level of success, they have something to contribute both because of their own personal skills, because of their financial ability to relocate and look after themselves and their family while they're getting readjusted," he explained.
"You don't get that from a 35-year old," said Harder. "Generally they are tight financially, they're just starting up, and so therefore they have some of a little bit more difficult time to get integrated into our community."
Despite of the challenges that the older applicants face, Harder said he believes the people he met with are well-suited and will make their way to Winkler.