More than 96 workers are set to travel to New Zealand under the RSE Scheme. The majority of the 96 workers are returning workers. They’ve been to New Zealand for more than one season, some have been working there for a couple of years or more. During a pre-departure briefing at St Barnabas Cathedral, Trade Commissioner, Barrett Salato said LMU not only plans to further increase the number of Solomon Islands workers joining the schemes, but also for the workers to move up to higher paid jobs in other sectors as well and not just in the horticulture and viticulture industry. Salato said, generally, he is quite happy for the RSE workers in New Zealand. “From the record we have, Solomon Islands has a low number of absconding compared to other participating countries”. He also said that the LMU received many positive feedbacks from employers about the good work, attitude and behaviors of the RSE workers. “This is something I strongly encourage all of you to maintain and improve on, because these kinds of positive records and behavior can encourage more RSE employers to choose Solomon Islands to recruit from in the future, despite the fact that the cost of recruiting here is very high”, he said.
Salato reminded the workers to be good ambassadors of Solomon Islands while in New Zealand, respecting its laws, culture and people of the host country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade’s Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) aims to further increase and expand Solomon Islands’ participation under the Labour Mobility Arrangements with Australia and New Zealand. The labor mobility scheme is demand-driven and so the government’s aim is to increase numbers. But this depends on the cost of recruitment, workers’ hard work and productivity, and workplace behavior and attitude.
Meanwhile, commenting on the distribution of employment opportunities across different communities in the country, Salato said participation levels of some of the remote and economically marginalized communities or provinces in the country are still very low. He said, while the LMU does not dictate or make employers’ recruitment decisions, the government preference is to prioritize workers from remote and marginalized communities in the country.
“We always encourage employers to consider this in their recruitment decisions”.
The pre-departure briefing was conducted by Jack Waneoroa and Harrison Kabolo of the LMU.