Samoa govt fears labour drain after Canberra offers work visas

It comes as the government tries to find out how a group of workers were able to depart for New Zealand for seasonal work, despite the temporary ban on the regional seasonal employer scheme.

RNZ Pacific reports Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio told the Parliament in Apia that the Australian Government made the announcement on new visas without consulting the Samoan Government.

He said this would hurt the Samoan labour workforce and lead to the loss of more skilled workers and their families to Australia permanently.

NZ Immigration improves visa conditions for Pacific Island Forum Countries

“Previously, visa conditions were granted specific to the individual’s circumstances for travel, and therefore varied. Following requests from Pacific nations we recognise the need to consider consistent visa conditions for frequent travellers.

The changes for officials and diplomats recognise the need to provide greater consistency to our Pacific Island Forum Country and Kiribati counterparts with visa validity conditions and assurance of our commitment to an efficient process,” says Minister Woods.

Samoa Government strengthens system for issuance of temporary and work permits

The review is a good platform for the two Ministries to run a reality check of the current system in view of existing government policies, and future pathways for strengthening labour mobility in Samoa.

The improvements made to the system now require all foreign employees’ applications for temporary and work permits to go through the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – Immigration Division.

NZ Immigration publishes Samoa quota ballot results

Those whose numbers have been picked are now eligible to go through the process of applying for residency.

But one of the ongoing challenges for many is securing a suitable job offer from a New Zealand employer and having enough support when they get to New Zealand.

There were 16,500 registrations by Samoan nations this year for just 1100 places.

That's an extra 2500 people on last year's figure.

Eligible citizens had to be aged between 18 and 45 to register for the ballot which many Samoans see as a chance to fast track their move to NZ.