300 workers from Vanuatu will be sent to New Zealand for work under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme every month until March next year, the NZ government has revealed.
This will make a total of 2,400 workers traveling to NZ in the course of a nine month period.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs responsible for Labour, Ishmael Kalsakau, thanked the NZ Government for providing the opportunity to Ni-Vanuatu experienced workers to return to farms in NZ and make money to support their families in this critical time.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a lot of challenges and impact in our employment sector as well as our economy. Despite these challenges, I believe this announcement offers hope and will assist many citizens who have lost their jobs during this critical time,” he stressed.
Kalsakau said he has asked the NZ Government to address a few issues in this second recruitment phase to prioritise the welfare of Vanuatu workers.
“I must admit that lack of having a country liaison officer has resulted in many social issues that our workers are facing,” he conveyed.
“However, I wish to reiterate that this has been addressed and I am honoured to announce that a RSE Liaison Offer will be appointed soon.
“I wish to thank the Ministry of Finance and colleague ministers in this coalition government for support the Department of Labour and Employment services supplementary budget which will accommodate the position of the two liaisons offices for both Australia and NZ labour mobility programs.”
Vanuatu was able to send 1,116 RSE workers to NZ during the first phase of the recruitment from January to March this year.
Minister Kalsakau said: “Along this journey of recruitment, we did experience some challenges leading to two workers losing their lives.
“Given the nature of those incidents, in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of other Ni-Vanuatu workers, I believe the NZ Government and RSE approved employers will work hard to make sure that the safety and welfare of our workers remains the top priority.”