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Beck explains Canada, Australia and New Zealand Labour Mobility programs

The Canada Labour Mobility program is market-driven, says the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Collin Beck when asked during a Press Conference yesterday. 

Foreign Affairs PS Collin Beck speaking during a Press Conference yesterday

Mr Beck was answering a question by SIBC News if the National Government had any labour mobility arrangement with Canada. This follows the granting of Permanent Residency to eight Solomon Islanders in Canada who are there under the Canadian International Training and Education Corporation (CITREC) labour mobility program with Guadalcanal Province. 

 “Just to confirm that the Labour Mobility arrangement with Canada is market-driven between the Canadian International Training and Education Corporation (CITREC) and Guadalcanal Province.” 

He said the Government to Government arrangement is the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme with Australia and the Recognized Seasonal Employment with New Zealand which was agreed under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) Arrangement.    

The Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary announced that 900 plus workers will leave under the Seasonal Labour Mobility scheme.  

“We will have a number of workers that will be leaving this Friday, the first group to head out of the country this year. Next week we will also have another group, within the period from now to April we are looking at atleast 900 or just under 1000 will be going,” Beck said.    

SIBC News understands that most workers will be going to Australia. 

Beck adds that this year, there will be a good number of workers who will be leaving under the Seasonal Labour Mobility scheme.

Meanwhile, email inquiries by Solomon Islanders to CITREC have skyrocketed since Thursday last week when news of the eight Solomon Islanders who granted PR in Canada made headlines in the country. 

Our sources from the CITREC Program confirmed today that a total of 1341 email messages were received enquiring about the Labour Mobility Program,  87 queries were made today. 

Chairman of CITREC and Solomon Islands Consulate-General in Canada His Excellency Ashwant Dwivedi in his remarks to SIBC News confirming the granting of the Permanent Residency to eight Solomon Islanders, said they are looking forward for a strong partnership with the people of Solomon Islands.

“Canada Labour Mobility with Solomon Islands has helped build churches and houses, it has helped support families, it has helped send kids to schools, and most importantly it has empowered women of Solomon Islands from being seasonal workers to Permanent Residence of Canada – an unmatched opportunity for Solomon Islands,” H.E. Dwivedi said.

The CITREC program was established by the former Guadalcanal Provincial Government under former premier Anthony Veke with CITREC around year 2015.

In a recent interview with SIBC, current Guadalcanal Premier Francis Sade said the program was slowed down as his government discovered huge debt when they came into power. 

“We plan to restart the program as soon as we settle all the debts, at the moment we are reducing the debt to less than $7 million and we are still putting priority on paying off all the debts. Once we do that then we will restart the CITREC program and the scholarship program we had with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU),” Premier Sade told SIBC News in December 2021.

By Jared Koli

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