Gov’t reviews Labour Mobility Policy

Gov’t reviews Labour Mobility Policy


By Eliza Kukutu

The government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is currently reviewing the country’s Labour Mobility Policy.

Solomon Island’s participation in Labour mobility is administered by its Labour Mobility Strategy 2019 -2023, and Labour Mobility Policy Framework which were developed in 2019.

The strategy ended last year which prompted the review of the Labour Mobility Policy.

These two documents were aimed at providing a coherent system for: managing and maximizing labour mobility opportunities for Solomon Islanders, ensuring workers are protected whilst they are overseas, ensuring domestic industries are not disadvantaged by the supply of labour to international markets, and maximizing opportunities for upskilling the Solomon Islands labour force.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Collin Beck confirmed that the review of the policy is now in its second reading.

He said the policy is being reviewed to ensure that it addresses the new realities that are occurring under the Labour Mobility program.

“It is basically to ensure that the policy addresses the new realities that is before us now and also to try and open more opportunities for our nationals to work abroad.”

“It also focuses on broadening our Labour Mobility engagements in a diversifying way, to diversify the sectors in which our workers enter.”

Currently, two-third of local workers are in Australia on long-term visas, with majority working in the cattle industry.

Mr. Beck said diversifying the sectors in which workers are employed can lessen impacts of unemployment should any sectors be faced with issues that might put workers out of their job.

He also explains that the revised policy will put more emphasis on a reintegration strategy for returning workers.

“Given the growing number of workers, we want to try and align the revised policy with some of the new strategies in which we have taken on, and that includes the Reintegration Strategy, on what happens to workers on their return. This is something that we would like to make as a linkage within the new policy, and to have an effective management in terms of delivery and marketing of the Labour Mobility drive that we have.”

” But most importantly, the new policy is a forward looking one for us as we are trying to have labour mobility graduate out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be a stand alone entity in terms of dealing with Labour Mobility, so that as it responds to the market, it does so with a much more open and market oriented approach away from the public sector that is managed within the Ministry,”  Beck explained.

The country currently has nearly 8,000 locals working under the Pacific Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme and the Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme.

The government hopes to have 16,000 PALM workers in Australia by 2028.

Permanent Secretary Beck also confirms that they are working on sending  more workers abroad this year.

“ We are mobilizing more workers, going into August it would probably be around 700 or so workers, so by the end of this year we might have 9,000 workers working abroad.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry aims to complete validating the revised policy by early next month before presenting it to cabinet for endorsement.


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