Samoa Government's 20-year roadmap outlines opportunity to grow seasonal worker programmes

The Samoan government's 20-year roadmap to development has identified labour mobility as a major economic opportunity.

The newly released 'Samoa 2040' report focuses on four broad areas: tourism, agriculture and fishing, developing the digital economy and labour mobility.

The report says labour mobility opportunities can be grown, pointing out that Tonga had half Samoa's population but double the number of seasonal workers overseas.

“It provides a valuable source of income for Samoan workers and their families and their communities and offers an opportunity to gain new experiences and training which can then be reinvested into Samoa's development,” it said.

the ABC reports in 2019, more than 3,000 Samoan workers went to Australia as part of the Seasonal Worker Programme, the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme and the Pacific Labour Scheme.

“Remittances from overseas workers amounted to more than a quarter of GDP, with these funds flowing directly to Samoan households,” the report stated.

The number of Samoans taking part in these programs could reach 15,000 by 2040 and they could be earning STA$200 million (US$79.2 million) it noted.

Much of this would return to Samoa as remittances.

Australia was facing a shortage of labourers and was trialling a recruitment program in the Northern Territory with people from other parts of the Pacific, the report noted.

If Samoa continued to contain COVID-19, it had the potential to be among the first groups of countries to have access to Australia and New Zealand, it said.

The report recognised the potential impacts and pressures this could have on families and suggested more investment in support in the countries people were working in.

It also cautioned that there was a danger of brain drain.

In a statement, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said 'Samoa 2040' demonstrated Samoa's maturity as a nation.

“It lays out a platform to ensure the needs of present and future Samoans are met, and that no one is left behind,” he said....


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