Seasonal workers

100 RSE workers in Australia test positive to Covid-19

The Samoa Observer reports the Ministry's CEO, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, said all workers on this short-term employment scheme to Australia were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before departure.

However, he said more than 1000 workers from participating Pacific Island countries have tested positive.

Pulotu said there have been no reports of Samoan workers in New Zealand returning positive tests.

ILO reviews seasonal schemes in NZ and Australia

The report "Seasonal worker schemes in the Pacific through the lens of international human rights and labour standards" also reveals that other Pacific islanders on the New Zealand RSE scheme earn less money than Samoans doing the same work.

Samoans in New Zealand earned the highest money at $AUD1,093 per week with the Fijians raking in the lowest rate of Pacific Island workers at $AUD736 per week.

The tables are turned in Australia though with Fijians earning the highest at $AUD1,138 per week and Vanuatu workers are paid the lowest at $AUD834 per week said the report.

Absconding seasonal worker posters under review after backlash

Around 12,000 seasonal workers have come into Australia over the past year from Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islands but of those, more than 1000 have absconded.

However, the government's campaign, which featured posters, faced serious public backlash, with critics saying it created fear and shame among workers.

Bundaberg Pastoral care worker Jeff Smith said the campaign was one of fear.

"Every word on that thing is fear driven, there is no compassion," he told Pacific Beat.

Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.

Seasonal workers from the Pacific hard at work at NT mango farms

The 34-year-old arrived in Darwin in September and works at a packing shed in Berry Springs, where she has been picking and sorting mangoes.

"Life in Samoa is really tough," she said. "I have a lot of family … I am supporting them.

"The company we [are] working [for] … we love their hospitality. The way they treat us Samoans is why we don't want to go back to Samoa … Australia is like a second family to us."

Prospective RSE workers scammed in Samoa

The Samoa Observer said some of the victims turned out to the Faleolo Airport to fly out to but no charter flight was scheduled.

The newspaper reports a senior ministry official has confirmed that three people were identified by their victims.

Cabinet recently announced that 222 workers travelled for work in Australia's Northern Territory on a scheduled flight on September 19.

Ardern announces RSE workers allowed one-way quarantine-free travel

In a post-Cabinet media briefing Monday afternoon, Ardern announced Cabinet had made the decision to allow Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from those countries to travel one way, without using MIQ.

The countries this would apply to reflected the fact all three nations had experienced very few cases of Covid-19, she said. Tonga had seen zero Covid-91 cases, Samoa just one, and Vanuatu had four - all those cases having been at the border with no community transmission.

Seasonal workers from Pacific Islands gather to celebrate culture, identity and sport

People from the Pacific Islands have long been a part of the Riverland community, with many travelling far from home to take up seasonal work in the South Australian agricultural region.

However, COVID-19 has made that distance from home seem even further, with workers who were already in Australia before the pandemic hit forced to stay longer than expected.

As well, due to the labour shortage across Australia, 800 people from the Pacific Islands have come to the Riverland and quarantined for two weeks before heading out to work on properties across the region.

Over 100 Samoan seasonal workers depart for Australia

The flight QF6063 which arrived empty from Australia on Tuesday afternoon departed Faleolo International Airport for Sydney with an emotional farewell.

Hundreds of families of the selected seasonal workers filled the airport to bid farewell to their loved ones.

Most of the workers said they have waited for up to three years to get this opportunity.

Usufono Taupule, a 31-year-old from the big island of Savai’i is one of them – He applied for the seasonal work opportunity in 2019.

Nearly 700 Samoan seasonal workers heading to Australia

Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo confirmed that the first chartered flight is scheduled to take 216 Samoan seasonal workers to Australia on 3 June.

The second chartered flight would be taking 144 RSE workers to be based in Victoria, Tasmania on 5 June.

The other two flights will take another 300 seasonal workers for contracts in Victoria and Queensland, on 15 and 18 June.

Agafili said most of the workers would be spending three years in Australia under the seasonal workers’ programme.