New Zealand may open up places for higher earning workers under RSE

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Ana Bing Fonua, Steve McGill (General Manager, Settlement, Protection and Attraction, MBIE), Sefita Hao'uli, Kolotia Fotu. Photo/Ana Bing Fonua (Facebook)

The New Zealand government will investigate opening up the Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme to semi-skilled and higher income occupations.

The RSE has offered places to seasonal workers in agriculture in New Zealand in unskilled areas.

New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gerry Brownlee, said the changes could allow access to higher level jobs where jobs could not be filled by local labour.

He said Pacific Island nations had asked for more opportunities for their workers that went beyond what was currently available.

Brownlee made the announcement at a conference, Strengthening Pacific Partnerships Phase Two,  which concluded in Auckland last week.

CEO of Tonga’s Ministry of Internal affairs, Tonga’s Ana Bing Fonua and Kolotia Fotu from the Ministry of Labour and Commerce attended the meeting.

The RSE scheme is a decade old and involves 10,500 workers.

However, while the number of Pacific states taking part had risen, the number of workers from some states, notably Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Nauru, remained low because of their distance from New Zealand and the high cost of airfares.

The goal of the scheme over the next 10 years was to help Pacific countries by providing more opportunities for workers and help their economies by increasing the flow of remittances from RSE workers.

He said the design of the second phase of the scheme was based on interviews with a wide range of senior officials from Pacific states, employers and workers, community leaders and studies of Pacific labour carried out by the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade.

As part of the second phase the New Zealand government would look at ways to develop opportunities for woman and for people to work in sectors requiring industry-specific skills and qualifications.

Earlier this year Tuvalu called for more opportunities for skilled workers and Samoa said it wanted the cap on the numbers of RSE workers lifted.

The main points

  • The New Zealand government will investigate opening up the Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme to semi-skilled and higher income occupations.
  • The RSE has offered placed to seasonal workers in agriculture in New Zealand in unskilled areas.
  • New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gerry Brownlee, said the changes could allow access to higher level jobs where jobs could not be filled by local labour.
  • He said Pacific Island nations had asked for more opportunities for their workers that went beyond what was currently available.

For more information

New Zealand looks to extend RSE scheme

Pacific nations want to review numbers on the RSE scheme

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