A team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is in Auckland, New Zealand to participate in a policy consultation and review of the Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE). The New Zealand Government is currently undertaking a review of the RSE policy and aims to lift the scheme to a “gold standard”.
The RSE scheme is a partnership between the New Zealand government, the horticulture industry and employers, and Pacific Island countries. It also aims to reflect Pacific views in the policy, something it hopes to be central to its success and sustainability. Solomon Islands as a sending country has utilized the labor mobility opportunity under the RSE since it joined the scheme in 2010. However, since then its number have not increased compared to the Australian labour mobility scheme. One of the contributing factor to this low number is due to the current cap system that limits the number of RSE places that can be taken in any one year.
Therefore, Solomon Islands would like to see in this current RSE policy review the removal of this cap system. Solomon Islands as part of its contribution further calls for the RSE to expand into other sectors, particularly Fisheries, Agriculture and Forestry. The delegation further calls on New Zealand to effectively work in partnership with sending Units, employers and all-important stakeholders in the Labor Mobility sphere to effectively resolve issues that are affecting the workers.
These included accommodation, health, deductions, pastoral care, worker’s right The guiding principles of the review are that
- Enable equitable sharing of benefits across employers, workers and communities;
- Incorporate the views of Pacific countries and workers, and the impacts on Pacific labour
- Contribute to the short, medium and long-term development outcomes New Zealand seeks
- in the Pacific region;
- Be accessible to prospective workers and employers;
- Have settings that are flexible, enabling the system to respond to labour market changes
over time; and
- Ensure compliance frameworks are robust, fit-for-purpose and adequately resourced.
The Solomon Island Delegation that took part in the review consist of Solomon Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand, His Excellency Eliam Tangirongo, Chief Trade Officer for Labor Mobility, Jack Waneoroa Solomon Islands New Zealand High Commission Office Second Secretary, June Rofeta and Research officer of the Labor Mobility Unit, Christina Maoma.