RSE workers

Samoa reviewing RSE scheme to protect its own economy

Va'atu'itu'i Apete Meredith said it was necessary for Samoa to ensure sending seasonal workers to New Zealand and Australia did not become an obstacle to its own economic development.

"Samoa has to take a reality check of how this scheme has been so successful that we need more equity or equitable distribution of the benefits," Va'atu'itu'i said at the RSE conference in Christchurch held this week.

In January this year, the Samoan government temporarily halted sending seasonal workers to New Zealand and Australia to the disappointment of both workers and growers.

Samoan govt puzzled as to how seasonal workers were able to leave

All seasonal workers who take up employment in New Zealand and Australia must first be approved by Cabinet.

The government suspended the scheme in March while a special committee conducted a review.

The Minister for Commerce, Industry and Labour, Leatinu'u Wayne Sooialo, said the committee report had not been completed and he wants to know how RSE workers managed to fly to New Zealand without formal approval.

Samoa Observer is reporting 17 fruit pickers and freezing workers left Samoa this week.

Abused RSE workers in Australia too afraid to speak out

The stark findings are the result of an extensive survey by Australia's Anti-Slavery Taskforce.

The Taskforce's Executive Officer, Alison Rahill, said the Australian government needs greater scrutiny of the Pacific Labour Mobility scheme and that better support is needed for its seasonal workers.

The Taskforce is a social agency established by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, providing support for potential victims of slavery-like practices.

Ms Rahill said isolation and other factors increases the risk of abuse.

NZ's border reopening 'too little, too late' - horticulture industry chief

They say more could and should have been done to avoid the crisis facing the 2021-2022 harvest season.

From 28 February, New Zealanders will be able to arrive back from Australia and expatriates from the rest of the world can return from 14 March.

Aotearoa was expected to open to foreigners from visa-waiver countries such as the United States no later than July.

For those who benefit from New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme, the move had come "too little too late".

New Zealand confirms dates for One-way Quarantine Free Travel dates for RSE Scheme

“We’re pleased to announce that RSE workers from Vanuatu can begin arriving into New Zealand from 4 October, with Samoan and Tongan workers arriving from 12 October,” Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said.

“This will provide much needed certainty for our growers as they gear up for summer and autumn harvesting.”

One-way quarantine-free travel for Samoa, Tonga,Vanuatu RSE workers to start in October

The change was announced by, New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“We want to provide certainty to the horticulture industry that we are moving forward with safe quarantine-free travel for RSE workers in time for the upcoming picking season,” Damien O’Connor said.

Samoa Prime Minister keen on New Zealand’s seasonal employment offer

Samoa is one of 10 Pacific Island countries in the RSE Programme .

Savali Newspaper reports PM Tuilaepa responded to the recent announcement by the New Zealand Government to grant a border exception for 2000 workers under the Recognized Seasonal Employers scheme in the New Year.

New conditions in place include a standard living wage for the Pacific workers, and for employers to foot the quarantine costs, as well as two weeks of salary for the workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries sectors that are in dire need of workers for the upcoming harvesting season.

Samoan RSE workers ready to roll when NZ ready

Fruit growers in New Zealand, faced with a massive worker shortage, are also anxious for Pacific workers to return.

But thousands of Pacific workers who come to New Zealand each year under the Recognised Seasonal Employer have been unable to because of travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

"Talks are underway with New Zealand on the matter," according to the Assistant Chief Executive Officer at Samoa's Labour Export and Employment Division Lemalu Nele Leilua .

Samoa RSE workers to return on chartered flights

The date for the first flight is yet to be finalised but an assistant CEO of Samoa's Ministry of Labour who is the head of the RSE division, Lemalu Nele Leilua, said the horticulture industry agreed to be responsible after a meeting last week.

This comes after reports of stranded seasonal employees getting homesick as well frustrated for not knowing when they could go back home.

Lemalu said some of the families in Auckland asked the employees who are relatives to leave their working bubbles and spend time with them before returning home.

New Zealand increases seasonal jobs for Pacific workers

The NZ Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway announced Thursday that the RSE cap would increase by 1,550 places this year, bringing the total available RSE visas to 14,400.

“We are helping our regions’ growers to plan ahead and get the support they need. For the first time we are announcing a two-year increase to the RSE quota. This will help address industry concerns that a lack of certainty on RSE numbers makes it hard for them to plan for labour needs and accommodation requirements,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.