Seasonal workers

155 Samoan seasonal workers depart for New Zealand

The workers departed Samoa’s Faleolo International Airport on a special flight Thursday.

This is the second group of workers to arrive in New Zealand to take up work under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

About 780 seasonal workers are expected to travel to New Zealand over the coming months.

 

Photo NZ High Commission in Samoa/Facebook Caption: Part of the group of 155 seasonal workers waiting to board their flight at Samoa's Faleolo International Airport 

     

Samoan RSE workers prepare to leave for New Zealand

The group will be the first of several groups taking up employment under the Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme (RSE) over the next few weeks.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi spoke to about 100 seasonal workers reminding them that their attitude determined their success.

“Your attitude is your most important quality. When you are there, do not do anything stupid that it will have you sent back to Samoa and you may never get your chance to work on these opportunities again,” he said.

Living wage guarantee for RSE workers in border exemption

The New Zealand government has announced it is granting access through the border for 2000 workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme in the new year.

New conditions in place as part of the exemption include a standard living wage for the Pacific workers, and for employers to foot the quarantine costs.

This will include 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.

Employers urged to focus on health needs, housing for seasonal workers

The government will bring in 2000 Recognised Seasonal Employer, or RSE, workers into the country to help with harvests.

Growers must pay isolation facility costs for each worker and also pay them the living wage of just over $22 an hour.

The co-convenor of Komiti Pasefika, CTU, Caroline Mareko supports the changes to the programme restrictions and adds that increasing the living wage will make a big difference to families.

"It's great news this is happening," she said.

NZ horticulture sector hopeful of bringing Pacific workers back

Along with viticulture, the sector's usual system of employing Pacific Islanders under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme has been disrupted by the pandemic.

Pipfruit New Zealand's Trade Policy and Strategy spokesman Gary Jones says his sector is three or four thousand workers short.

He said growers believed they should be able to bring in workers from covid-free countries.

Jones said plans were in place to ensure workers who come for the seasonal work could get back home again.

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.