SI to pass 5,000 seasonal workers

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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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By EDDIE OSIFELO

THE five-year Labour Mobility Strategy (2019-2023) to achieve more than 5000 workers by 2023 is progressing well.

More than 4000 workers are currently working under the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme in Australia and Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) in New Zealand.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade permanent secretary, Collin Beck confirmed to media last week having passed the 4000-mark.

He said by the end of December, they are projecting to pass the 5000-mark.

“Work on this is going in the right direction, there is a lot of interests.

“The challenges they face now are positive challenges, like the process of dealing with passports,” he said.

Beck said the increase of numbers is basically because “our workers have built a good reputation.

“We have built a brand ‘here to work’ which is about responsibility, commitment, dedication and courteous with the employers.

“Of course, there are one or two issues but they don’t affect the general reputation of everyone,” he said.

In addition, Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers said the projection set four years ago is to hit 5000 by 2023.

He said by 2025, it should hit 10,000.

“This is achievable,” he added.

In terms of economic impact, Central Bank of Solomon Islands has confirmed that the total remittances (inflow) for 2021 was SBD$215 million.

This is 68 percent increase from $128 million reported in 2020.

CBSI also confirms that these figures include remittances from both seasonal workers and non-seasonal workers.

The Labour Mobility Strategy was developed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2018. 

It has been developed in tandem with the Labour Mobility Policy Framework and together these documents outline the Solomon Islands Government’s [SIGs] plans and system for growing labour mobility opportunities over the next five-year period (2019 – 2023). 

Fundamental principles underpinning the labour mobility strategy are that it aligns with other government strategies for the development of the domestic economy, by: 

  1. Developing new employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders
  2. Increasing international earnings for investment in the domestic economy
  3. Developing workforce skills for entrepreneurship and the creation of new industry. 

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