A new initiative hopes to retain the region's "post-Covid brain gain" by hosting events for networking and social connection opportunities.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she had been hearing of "a huge amount" of young people returning from overseas, bringing international experience to Hawke's Bay.
The council enlisted the help of Kin marketing director and event organiser Alice McKinley.
Hazlehurst and McKinley had both been hearing from young returnees that isolation was an issue and meeting people could be tricky.
"They have been living in really challenging working and living situations through Covid lockdowns in places like London, the States and Canada and left their networks and friends behind," Hazlehurst said.
"It's sometimes hard when you return home, needing to rebuild and rebuild those social networks and meet new friends."
"I can't stress how much of a problem it is, ever since becoming aware of it, everyone I talk to that has come back over is finding it really hard to meet people," McKinley said.
With a vision to bring together young returnees and keep them in Hawke's Bay, After Hours was born.
One young couple who have moved to the Bay because of Covid-19 are 28-year-old Katrina Ansford and 30-year-old Jimmy Grice who moved from Melbourne last August.
Ansford is originally from Hawke's Bay and they had intended to return in a few years, but with the heavy Melbourne lockdowns and New Zealand's relatively good Covid-19 situation, they decided to move sooner.
The marketing and IT recruitment professionals say it has been hard to connect with like-minded people, taking almost the year they have been back to meet people.
Ansford said they have found it a bit harder to break through into professional networks here.
And in Melbourne there would always be different meet ups and industry events, but there is not the same opportunity here, Grice said, so they are looking forward to meeting new people at After Hours.
And there "are so many people in the same boat" - one person they have spoken to had spent six months in the Bay without meeting anybody after moving back from the United States.
McKinley hopes After Hours events will create new connections, collaborations and ultimately a community.
"Even though we have talent moving here every week, we know a lot of people are waiting for the borders to reopen so they can leave again.
"The hope is that After Hours will offer a chance for inspiration, innovation, creativity and professional development, while also creating a sense of community so skilled professionals can really thrive here."
Since the launch, After Hours has grown on social media and has a website that features interviews with Hawke's Bay locals and guides to things to do and places to go in the Bay.
After Hours events will be centred around a topic, providing educational points alongside opportunity to socialise and network.
The launch event held Friday July 23 at Toitoi – Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre, will focus on New Zealanders who are shaking up the beverage industry in Hawke's Bay and nationwide with Pals founder Mat Croad speaking.
Tickets are available from afterhours.org.nz and Ticketek.