PLMAM 2022: Hosts Call for “Practical solutions to longstanding problems”

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Thursday, 10 November 2022 Apia Samoa. The sixth Pacific Annual Labour Mobility Meeting (PLMAM) 2022 held in Apia this week has concluded with hosts Samoa calling for “practical solutions to our longstanding problems.”

Hosted by the Government of Samoa, this year’s PLMAM was attended by over 150 delegates from government, private sector, non-government actors, international agencies, and stakeholders in the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Timor Leste to discuss labour mobility priorities in the region.

In the final PLMAM Dialogue of the four day conference, alternate Chair and CEO of Samoa’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labour Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling highlighted the need for tangible outcomes to complement the talanoa.

“Whilst the recently discussed recommendations in today’s session for more workshops, technical talanoas and additional staff of the PPIU are a step in the right direction, however what we need as a collective are practical solutions to our longstanding problems, which includes appropriate and affordable accommodation, improved pay rates, more efficient visa processes, to name a few.”

PLMAM is provided under the PACER Plus (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations) Arrangement on Labour Mobility as a mechanism to advance regional labour mobility cooperation.

In a press statement Mr Roy Lagolago, Head of the PACER Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU) said the significance of the PLMAM lies in the opportunity to bring the region together to discuss issues and come up with solutions to address these issues as a collective.

“As we heard this week, labour mobility is not just a development initiative but also an economic initiative for both labour sending and receiving countries,” said Lagolago.

Roy Lagolago with Samoa’s Labour Minister Hon Leatinuu Wayne Sooialo.

“The PLMAM effectively provides the preeminent opportunity for open and inclusive dialogues that can advance the level of cooperation needed to enhance the benefits of labour mobility in the Pacific,” added Mr Lagolago.

The conference was themed “Reinvigorating Labour Mobility Cooperation for Development”.

Speaking at the opening Samoa’s Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour Hon Leatinuu Faumuina Wayne Sooialo said, “I believe that such level of cooperation also needs to take into account the foundations of our culture and heritage which have ensured social harmony in our Pacific Islands region”.

PLMAM was an opportunity for Pacific labour mobility stakeholders to re-engage, reset, and re-commit to advancing effective regional cooperation.

According to the release, the 2022 PLMAM had generated stimulating inclusive dialogues on current labour mobility opportunities and challenges and identified regional solutions and concrete actions for 2023/24.”

An outcomes document with suggested solutions and action items was not included in the press release.

Vanuatu has made an offer to host the 2023 PLMAM in 12 months time.