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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 00:38 GMT 01:38 UK
Council seeking language experts
Ness Walk, Inverness (Pic: Iain Maclean)
Inverness will be one of the bases for the staff
A rise in the number of people moving to the Highlands from abroad to find work has led its council to seek out staff with specialist language skills.

Highland Council hope to find three bi-lingual language assistants to add to the four it has already employed.

The authority said the job involved helping migrant workers and their families settle into their new lives.

Fluent English speakers are wanted who can also speak either Eastern European languages, Chinese or Bengali.

Dr Margaret Crombie, Highland Council's support for learning manager, said there was a plan to have the staff based across the region.

She said: "There has been an increase in the number of families relocating from other countries to Highland with significant numbers from Eastern Europe.

"Accessing services, such as housing, medical services, and education can prove difficult, particularly during the initial settling in period."

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Dr Crombie added: "We hope to add to our current bi-lingual language assistant service throughout Highland with bases in Inverness, Dingwall and Fort William."

The Highlands has seen a growing number of people from all over the world moving to the area for work.

More than 5,000 Poles make up one of the biggest communities and work in many of the region's industries.

Political parties have also been urging the residents from overseas to get involved in the Scottish elections.

EU citizens are allowed to register for local government elections which also entitles them to vote in the Scottish polls, but not the General Election.

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