PORT VILA, Vanuatu – The Government of Vanuatu successfully hosted the seventh Pacific Labour Mobility Annual Meeting (PLMAM) from 20-24 November 2023, bringing together nearly 350 delegates from across the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Timor Leste. The PLMAM serves as a crucial platform for increasing regional labour mobility cooperation on labour mobility priorities in the region and is a key initiative under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus Arrangement on Labour Mobility. PLMAM 2023 has taken the regional forum to a new level of inclusivity, attracting more stakeholders than ever before, including workers, employers, trade unions, private sector, civil society, and government officials.
This year’s meeting was convened under the theme “Harnessing the Development Benefits of Labour Mobility” reflecting the commitment of participating nations to explore avenues for maximising the positive impact of labour mobility on the economic and social development of the region.
Ms. Murielle Meltenoven, Commissioner of Labour with Vanuatu’s Department of Labour and Employment Services, expressed enthusiasm about the outcomes of the PLMAM 2023, stating, “The seventh Pacific Annual Labour Mobility Meeting has been a success, fostering collaboration among nations to harness the development benefits of labour mobility. The discussions and initiatives unveiled during the meeting will contribute significantly to the prosperity and growth of our region.”
The meeting addressed a wide range of issues, including measures to enhance the impact of return migration and reintegration in Pacific economies and societies, improving worker welfare and wellbeing, and improving the effectiveness of the Arrangement on Labour Mobility (ALM). The PLMAM 2023 also featured an Employer Forum where employers have made strong commitments to supporting the success of Pacific labour mobility schemes and its contribution to sustainable development in the Pacific.
Mr. Roy Lagolago, Head of the PACER Plus Implementation Unit and Labour Mobility Secretariat, emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts: “Labour mobility is a powerful driver of economic development in the Pacific. The PLMAM serves as a vital forum to strengthen partnerships, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions. The commitment demonstrated by all participants reinforces the shared vision of advancing regional prosperity through responsible and sustainable labour mobility.”
Mr. Lagolago also expressed his gratitude to the Approved Employers for their commitment to fostering labour mobility in the Pacific.
“The inaugural Employer Forum during the PLMAM 2023 was a significant milestone, highlighting the collaborative efforts of our Approved Employers from Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
Australia has been announced as the host for the next PLMAM in 2024. The PLMAM is funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, with facilitation provided by the PACER Plus Implementation Unit, in its role as the Labour Mobility Secretariat.