Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop has announced a new Pacific Labour Scheme that allows 2,000 workers from three Pacific nations to work in Australia.
“We welcome the start of the Pacific Labour Scheme, an exciting new chapter in the partnership between Australia and Pacific island countries,” she said.
From July 2018, up to 2,000 workers from Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu can earn an income and develop skills by accessing low and semi-skilled temporary work opportunities in Australia, Pacnews reports.
Bishop said employers will be required to offer positions to Australian workers first and labour market testing will assure the safety of local jobs.
“We will ensure the scheme focuses on industries with projected job growth and those that match Pacific island skill sets, such as hospitality, tourism and aged-care,” said Bishop.
A new Pacific Labour Facility will support workers by providing them with pre-departure briefings on their rights, access to pastoral care and a 24/7 hotline.
“We have also established strong measures to guard against unfair and unlawful treatment. The Australia-Pacific Technical College will provide many of the workers with Australian-standard vocational qualifications,” assured Bishop.
The scheme will complement our existing Seasonal Worker Programme, which has brought more than 25,000 workers from Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste since 2012.
The Australian foreign minister said labour mobility is a win-win for Australia and for Pacific island countries.
“It will promote economic development and deepen friendships between our countries to help build a brighter future. It is an important plank of Australia’s stepped-up engagement with the Pacific and is a symbol of our enduring commitment to the region,” said Bishop.