New Pacific programmes welcome news for regional labour mobility
New Pacific programmes for migrant workers in two key sectors signal an ambitious new agenda for labour mobility opportunities in the Pacific, says Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Phil Twyford.
Immigration Minister Michael Wood yesterday announced a suite of new measures to relieve workplace shortages in key sectors, including that the new interim sector agreements for the meat and seafood processing sectors would make way for Pacific programmes in 2024.
Other sectors may also be considered for Pacific programmes in the future.
“Countries from across the Pacific have been clear with me that they highly value the current Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme, and see labour mobility as a key avenue for promoting economic development, both in their nations and the region as a whole,” Phil Twyford said.
“This is reflected in the PACER Plus agreement - signed by 11 Pacific nations including New Zealand - which includes a labour mobility arrangement, of which a key element is enhancing existing labour mobility schemes and exploring new opportunities in this area,” Phil Twyford said.
“Yesterday’s announcement by Minister Wood shows that we’ve heard Pacific countries loud and clear on how important labour mobility is for them, and have a plan for how we can deliver on this arrangement and expand beyond the successes of RSE,” Phil Twyford said.
“The meat and seafood processing sectors were identified as suitable for Pacific programmes given the pre-existing recruitment relationships that already exist, their alignment with circular migration, and the benefits that skills and experience in these areas would present to the Pacific.
Work will now be undertaken to determine the design and policy settings of the new Pacific programmes.
“It is vital that these new programmes work for both New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours. We want workers to have a positive experience while employed here, and be able to pick up skills and experience which they can then use to boost economic development in their own countries and continue providing for their families upon returning home.”
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with our friends in the Pacific as the details of these new programmes are further developed,” Phil Twyford said.