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Fiji expects to send up to 2000 workers to Australia this year

The Ministry of Employment is in talks with the Australian government to finalise plans to send close to 2000 workers to Australia under the Seasonal Workers Scheme. Employment Minister, Hon. Semi Koroilavesau said he had been in talks with his Australian counterparts to finalise the second phase of the programme. In our agreement with the Australian […]

Peni Shute

January 13, 2016 1:03 pm

The Ministry of Employment is in talks with the Australian government to finalise plans to send close to 2000 workers to Australia under the Seasonal Workers Scheme.

Employment Minister, Hon. Semi Koroilavesau said he had been in talks with his Australian counterparts to finalise the second phase of the programme.

In our agreement with the Australian Embassy, we should be looking at around about 1000 to 2000 seasonal workers this year, it depends entirely on the requirements of the farmers in Australia, as soon as they give us the needs, we will go through the processes and send them to Australia.

Under the initial agreement between Australia and Fiji, 100 places were allocated with an eventual 120 Fijians taking up a 6-month seasonal work contract in Australia last year, from that 6 Fijians have left their Australian employer due to unreasonable salaries and working conditions.

However, Koroilavesau said this would not affect the second phase of the programme. 114 Fijians are currently employed in Australia under the programme.

In a statement issued last year by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Julie Bishop said:

The Seasonal Worker Program is a mutually beneficial initiative, providing valuable opportunities for Fijian workers to secure short-term employment in Australia, and helping Australian employers to fill gaps in the available labour force.  The program is consistent with our focus on creating jobs, boosting incomes and contributing to economic development in our region. In addition to the horticulture industry, the Seasonal Worker Program is also being trialled in the accommodation, aquaculture, cotton and cane sectors.

According to the Australia’s Department of Employment, the seasonal worker programme contributes to the economic development of participating countries by providing access to work opportunities in the Australian agriculture and accommodation industries.

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