Seasonal workers

Thousands of Samoans ready to alleviate worker shortages in Aus and NZ

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour's Lemalu Nele Leila said the government is eager to see some of the nearly 3000 workers waiting to be deployed, leave for opportunities overseas.

Lemalu said she's hopeful a group of workers will head off before Christmas, most likely to Australia.

She told the Samoa Observer the government would like them to go from next week if possible.

Lemalu says workers and their families are continually asking when they can go back to New Zealand or Australia.

Covid testing will not lead to penalties for invalid visa holders - NZ govt

Hundreds of seasonal workers have been stranded in New Zealand over recent months, some with expiring visas.

Pacific leaders had already raised concern about those with uncertain immigration status missing out on assistance or healthcare because of fear of being discovered.

However the minister, Chris Hipkins, encouraged them to get tested for Covid-19 if they needed to.

"We will not use the information collected through the Covid-19 testing process for other purposes, including for immigration purposes," Mr Hipkins said.

Samoan seasonal workers finally reunited with family

The men completed their 14 day quarantine on Friday and the Samoa Observer newspaper reported they were greeted by people who'd travelled from as far as Savai'i and Manono.

The group were repatriated seasonal workers who had been given the opportunity to be quarantined in their own village.

The 'in-village' quarantine had been organised by Poutasi High Chief Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale.

The workers were split in two and isolated in two village halls just a stone throw away from the district hospital and the police outpost.

Stranded Pacific workers 'losing hope' of going home

More than 1500 workers from the Pacific who were due to return home in May are still in the region, and with the season officially over there is little paid work.

The mental health and wellbeing of 117 Samoan workers employed by Johnny Appleseed in Hastings was now the company's biggest concern, operations manager Len Thompson said.

"There's depression, anxiety, and there's anger. The problem is there is no day set for their return."

Samoa welcomes extension of RSE work permits

The Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour responsible for the Samoan seasonal workers, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell commended the two governments.

“This is excellent because it’s not only for the safety of the workers but for all the three countries,” said Lautafi noting that the bonus for the Samoan seasonal workers is that they will continue to get paid.

He said that New Zealand has also extended visas for Samoans seasonal workers to stay and continue their employment until September.

Samoa's govt issues warning to departing seasonal workers

The Samoa Observer reports the workers were also warned against the dangers of social media during a pre-departure meeting.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour's assistant chief executive, Lemalu Nele Leilua, told the workers the government would not hesitate to bring them back home if they misbehaved.

Most of the workers are heading to apple orchards for the harvest and are away for up to seven months.

The workers were also urged to start savings accounts for their return home.


Samoan lawyer calls for compensation education for Australia’s seasonal workers

Leota raised the issue following reports of Samoans being injured in the workplace then being sent home without compensation.

He told Loop Samoa correspondent, Talaia Mika that the whole idea came about after consultations with the Consulate, Vaasatia Poloma.

“Because a lot of people who go over for seasonal work, they’re more inclined to get hurt more than any other worker in Australia so that’s why there was an issue because yes there is our liaison officer Aufai in Australia but there’s no one here in Samoa,” he said.

Samoa losing skilled labour to seasonal worker schemes - business group

There are currently 55 Samoans working in Australia as part of the 'Seasonal Worker Program' and about 2500 in New Zealand with the 'Recognised Employer Scheme' or RSE.

However, Tagaloa has warned the government needs to tighten its recruitment of seasonal workers as the country is losing skilled labour.

The programme should be used for unemployed Samoans, he said.

"The unskilled workers will then get a skill and then when they come back they can then be a source of skilled supply labour for the private sector but not the other way around.

Emotional preparation for Samoa’s Tiavea youth for seasonal work overseas

Prior to the feasting and emotional goodbyes, the chiefs spoke with the group about being good ambassadors for their country.

The seasonal workers were also reminded of their priorities as they prepare to travel.

According to a member of the village, Menime Sola, this is Tiavea’s way of disciplining the men so that they will make their families and village proud in other countries.

Punishments and regulations were laid out for the men in the event of unruly behavior or criminal activities while they’re working abroad.

Call for returning seasonal workers to be vaccinated against measles

Hawke's Bay's Alan Wright is the clinical team leader for the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team 'Bravo', the second rotation to help in Samoa with the outbreak.

He's running the response at Leulumoega Distric Hospital, with all other patients diverted for treatment to a smaller clinic near Faleolo Airport on Upolu.

Dr Wright said he knew of workers preparing to leave New Zealand's Hawke's Bay, who were unvaccinated.