Cap on Pacific Labour Scheme lifted

The Australian government will roll out its Pacific Labour Scheme to all Pacific island countries, including PNG.

This scheme gives Papua New Guineans the opportunity to attain low to semi-skilled jobs in Australia.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, announced this on November 16th in Port Moresby, following the 30th APEC Ministerial Meeting.

The Minister said the Australian government’s decision is to increase engagement in the region.

“Our Pacific Labour Scheme will be progressively now rolled out across key Pacific island countries, up from the current six nations who are the current participants,” she said.

“Tonga will be the next country to join the Pacific Labour scheme, and I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva later tonight (yesterday) to discuss our agreement on Tonga joining the Pacific Labour Scheme.

“I will also be speaking to our Papua New Guinea counterparts for Papua New Guinea to join the scheme.”

Payne added: “We are also going to uncap the Pacific Labour Scheme. We are going to remove that cap to maximise engagement.

“As we uncap that scheme we will able to build on the strong success of the Seasonal Worker Program which has enabled more than 28,000 job opportunities for Pacific Islanders since 2012,” said Minister Payne.

The Pacific Labour Scheme commenced on July 1st, 2018, to help meet business demand in rural and regional Australia, allowing citizens of select Pacific island countries to apply for low and semi-skilled temporary employment.

The Scheme will promote economic development and deepen friendships between Australia and Pacific island countries.

(Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne)

Cedric Patjole