Ulster people working in Britain are being urged to return home permanently by Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey.
Sir Reg today issued a message to the tens of thousands of ex-pats who will be coming home for Christmas over the next few days.
"I want people to realise that the days when Northern Ireland couldn't compete with the employment opportunities offered in Great Britain are gone," he insisted.
"With our growing economy and lower cost of living, Northern Ireland is a top choice for people looking to take the next step in their career. I would encourage people who currently study or work elsewhere to explore the exciting opportunities now available here."
The changes that have taken place in Northern Ireland over the past years make it almost unrecognisable from the country that many people left during the Troubles, he pointed out.
And Sir Reg noted that the increase in the number of employment opportunities being offered means that recruitment companies are now actively targeting ex-pats from Northern Ireland who have the senior management skills required to take forward new and established businesses here.
The reasons that people choose to return to the province are numerous and complex, but lifestyle, family and work all play their part, he added.
Deirdre Stewart of the CBI said: "The recent increase in inward investment and the growth in the number of indigenous companies means that we must start to look outside of Northern Ireland to secure the volume of talent we now require to help our companies thrive."
Alex McGimpsey, who returned home to Northern Ireland in October after spending eight years in Scotland, said her main reasons to return home were to re-establish her roots here and spend more time with her family.
She also said she was keen to secure a good job that would further her career in human resources.
She further revealed: "Through availing of the services of a recruitment agency in Newtownards, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were a number of employment opportunities available in my field and within two weeks I had secured an excellent job as an HR adviser with the Bank of Ireland in Belfast.
"I firmly believe that the transformation that has occurred here over the last eight years means that Belfast now compares favourably against other great cities in the UK."