Global battle for skilled workers

PHOTO: Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

There is an increasingly global battle for skilled workers, said Sara Elder, International Labour Organisation’s Senior Economist.

She made the comments at a press conference on the margins of the ILO’s 17th Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Singapore while a question from this newspaper on the issue of Fijians going to Australia under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

“This issue of the brain drain is global,” she said.

“Workers go where opportunities are better if wages are their top priority if they are thinking of better own lives, for their families back in Fiji. It’s instinctive.

“We can’t fault them for going where the money is.

“It’s becoming an increasingly global battle for skilled workers.

“This is where the International Labour Organisation can come in as a platform for open discussion on how don’t do this race to the bottom in terms of competition for the race for skilled labour.

“There are a lot of competitions for incentives to bring in skilled workers – you don’t pay taxes in my country, you come into my country, you won’t pay taxes.

“It’s going to go very badly if we don’t control this at the global level. I just think we just have to wait and see what will happen to sort of build a global dialogue over this issue,” said Elder.