2,000 seasonal workers by end of year: Gov’t

Part of a group of Solomon Islanders who went under the Australian Seasonal Workers Programme and Labour Mobility Scheme. PHOTO AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION OFFICE
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GOVERNMENT expects to send 2000 workers to Australia under the Labour Mobility scheme by the end of this year.

Currently there are 533 workers in Australia and 291 in New Zealand.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele told Parliament on Tuesday that by end of this month they are looking at an additional 420 workers going to work in Australia.

He said beyond April to June, indicative numbers they have is around 632.

“This will bring the number to more than one thousand two hundred and forty-four workers (1244) by mid this year,” he said.

Manele said getting to 2000 workers by the end year is their goal and they see this as achievable given the growing number of workers entering the Australia market. 

He said the government is mindful of the decline in employment opportunities within the domestic market given the down turn of the economy.

“Seeking employment for our youths remains a priority of the government.

“Labour markets in Australia and New Zealand continue to provide jobs for growing number of our people,” he said.

“An average worker from Solomon Islands working in Australia earns around SBD50, 000 for a six to nine months’ contract under the Seasonal Workers Programme.

“This is a substantial amount that continue to improve the quality of lives of our workers and their families,” he said.

Further to that, Manele said the Labour Mobility programme with Australia and New Zealand were suspended during the course of 2020.

However, he said Australia opened up its labour market only in November, they were one of the first countries of the region to register its interests to participate in the programme.

Labour Mobility is part of the Government’s redirection policy.