SEASONAL WORKERS TO AUSTRALIA TO RECEIVE GOV’T SUPPORT

A seasonal worker picking grapes. Photo credit: www.abc.net.au

A seasonal worker picking grapes. Photo credit: www.abc.net.au

Seasonal workers to Australia will receive additional support from both the governments of Australia and New Zealand this year in efforts to boost declining employment numbers of workers to Australia.

The program, now in its fourth year, sent 43 workers in 2012, nine workers in 2013 and only two workers in 2014.

In contrast, Solomon Islands sent about 500 seasonal workers to New Zealand in 2014.

However, almost 20 workers have been sent to Australian farms this year.

The Director of the Australian Seasonal Worker Program, Susannah Smith, visited Solomon Islands last year aiming to increase the number of Solomon Islander seasonal workers to Australia.

In November last year, a DFAT sponsored advisor joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade’s Labour Mobility Unit to support efforts to increase Solomon Islander participation.

In addition, the new Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government promised a renewed focus on labour mobility.

In its recently released policy statement, the government pledged to “support the labour mobility initiative programme” during its four-year term.

This year, labour mobility is being considered as a national economic priority.

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