Over 400 Samoans are under the microscope and may well head to Australia as seasonal workers for the Australian’s Seasonal Workers Program (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme, (PLS).
Recruitment agencies from Down Under have been visiting Samoa in recent weeks to conduct the selection process with the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour, (MCIL) as the local executing agency keeping a vigil for the new employment opportunities to become a reality.
Close to 700 Samoans are currently employed in Australia under the umbrella of Canberra’s SWP and PLS with the seasonal workers employment accounting for over 90%
However in recent weeks, Recruiting Agencies from Australia have been holding talks in Apia to jump start the hiring process for 150 workers exclusively for the Pacific Labour Scheme with another 300 applicants scrutinised for possible employment under the Seasonal Workers Program.
Australia’s Pacific Labour Scheme is similar to the New Zealand Seasonal Workers Scheme but the difference is in the duration of the work permits.
New Zealand seasonal workers are hired for periods from three months to a maximum of seven months before returning home.
The Pacific Labour Scheme is separate from the Australia’s Seasonal Workers Program (SWP) which currently provides 648 jobs for Samoans.
And more Samoans may well be heading to New Zealand as well.
Like Australia, the Government of Samoa is also keeping a vigil on the spin-offs from the recent announcement by the New Zealand Government that their annual cap will increase which will lead to new and more seasonal employment opportunities for Samoans.
In the first year the cap for Seasonal Workers permit will increase by 1550 to 14,400 for 2019/20 and if approval has also been given for the cap to be raised then it will increase by a further 1,600 places to 16,000 in 2020/21, says a recent announcement from the Government of New Zealand.
And the Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell is predicting at least 600 new seasonal job openings for Samoa.
Presently 2,400 Samoans are working in New Zealand under that country’s Recognised Seasonal Employees initiative.