A seasonal worker picking apples. Photo credit: Solomon Times online.

A seasonal worker picking apples. Photo credit: Solomon Times online.

The Labor Mobility Unit (LMU) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) has refuted a local media report claiming that the Labour Mobility program has been hijacked by politicians.

In a statement, the LMU clarifies, there are two different seasonal schemes under its responsibilities.

One is New Zealand’s Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) program and the other is the Australian Seasonal Worker Program (SWP).

The statement elucidates, under the New Zealand RSE, eight Solomon Islands agents had been granted a license to recruit workers from Solomon Islands for New Zealand Employers wanting employees from Solomon Islands.

It says, the recruitment of workers under this model is totally up to the agents, who are obliged to ensure the conditions of the signed inter-Agency Understanding that facilitates the RSE program in the Solomon Islands are adhered.

The Australia SWP deals with two recruitment models – ‘Direct Recruitment’ and ‘Work Ready Pool Model.’

Under the Direct Recruitment model, approved employers from Australia can select their workers directly, based on their preferences and how the workers were known to them.

The ‘Work Ready Pool Model’ is to help meet demands for employers who do not have any idea and connections to the Solomon Islands and so LMU has developed and established a work-ready pool where the employer can pick workers.

The LMU says it is working closely with Australia High Commission to develop a more robust and effective selection mechanism for the ‘work ready’ pool.

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