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Samoa's seasonal workers - the triple win effect
11:56 pm GMT+12, 13/06/2019, Samoa

As of today, 2,467 Samoans are earning decent incomes to support their families as seasonal workers in New Zealand and Australia.

The NZ Recognised Seasonal Workers (aka RSE) accounts for the majority of the temporary employment opportunities with 1,878 Samoans working in Aotearoa. 

Mr Apple NZ Limited is the biggest employer for Samoans accounting for 20% of the recruited workers. This was confirmed by a report prepared by the implementing agency, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labor, (MCIL).

Tabled and approved by the Cabinet Development Committee, (CDC) at its monthly meeting Thursday, the report highlighted Samoa’s improved standing as the second largest recruiter from the nine Pacific Islands taking part in the RSE, behind Vanuatu.

The RSE’s annual quota has also increased to 12,850 shared amongst the nine Pacific Islands including Samoa.

For this year, 26 Samoans have been employed under the Pacific Trade Partnership (PTP) initiative.  The employment incentive targets skilled individuals with satisfactory qualification and extensive construction/carpentry working experience.

Samoa is also the first country to recruit a female worker under the scheme with our carpenters working in Tauranga, Gisborne, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

The employment period is for 12 months with the possibility of permit extensions for an additional 24 months.

In Australia, Samoa provides the largest number of workers under the Seasonal Workers Program (SWP), accounting for more than 60% of the 554 Samoan workers.

SWP was officially rolled out in 2012 with a pioneer group of 22 workers and to date the Samoan Seasonal Workers are working for employers based in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The employment period varies from three to nine months.

Under the separate Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), focus is on low and semi-skilled occupations, targeting individuals with qualifications and extensive work experience in various industries such as accommodation & food services, health care, social assistance and non-seasonal agriculture forestry and fishing.

The nine Samoans working in Australia under the scheme includes two staff from Sinalei Hotel and now employed by the Mulpha Hotel Accommodation and seven men are presently employed by the Cowra Meat Processors.

12 other Samoans have been selected to work in the Meat Processing Industry and presently awaiting employment contracts.

This does not include interests from other Australian Employers who had visited Samoa in April to interview 120 local applicants.

The employment period under the PLS is for 3 years.

In its submission to the CDC, the Ministry noted that “labour mobility schemes that Samoa is a beneficiary of are not a pathway to permanent residence.”

But “part of a triple win effect, whereby workers, Samoa and the receiving country all reap the benefits, according to the CDC report.

SOURCE: GOVT PRESS SECRETARIAT


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