RSE Likely To Recommence 2021
By Mavuku Tokona
The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme in New Zealand (NZ) is likely to restart in 2021, said Vanuatu Commissioner of Labour (COL)Murielle Meltenoven.
Mrs Meltenoven said the recent meeting with the NZ High Commissioner involved a letter of offer by the NZ Foreign Minister regarding the revival of RSE.
The Labour Commissioner explained: “So far we have already received a letter from the Foreign Minister of NZ, requesting Vanuatu to be part of the RSE program and the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for labour mobility program (Ishmael Kalsakau) has responded to the letter of offer from the Foreign Minister of NZ, hopefully we can start the RSE program in 2021.”
According to Mrs Meltenoven, the 23 active agents are solely for the Seasonal Workers Program (SWP), meaning only for the Australian workforce.
“The 23 agents that I’ve mentioned are doing recruitments for SWP only, for RSE we will hopefully have agents doing recruitment for the NZ market in 2021,” she said.
“At this stage I cannot confirm how many agents that will be recruiting for NZ, We have more than 20 for RSE and more than 60 for SWP.”
As for Australian employment opportunities, the COL said that her office is liaising with Australian private sector businesses to allocate a suitable post for the workers under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), a program that promotes regional labour mobility.
“PLS is more like semi-skilled workers, the Department of Labour through the employment services unit is facilitating all the recruitment process with the employer in Australia and we are making sure the employer is selecting the best worker to meet their needs.”
COL Meltenoven mentioned the PLS Visa holders will be able to remain in Australia from 12 months to three years and able to work in a wider range of employment options compared to SWP workers – “We have the tourism industry, age care, agriculture, horticulture, abattoir workers, to date we are only engaging in the PLS program with the Australian government.”
Despite coming from a COVID-19 free country, Vanuatu workers will undergo quarantine upon arrival in Australia, once completed then they will be released to their designated work environment pre-selected from Vanuatu.
Mrs Meltenoven mentioned that 32 PLS workers were expected to leave with the SWP workers on Monday (yesterday).
With Vanuatu workers playing an active role in the labour mobility program of Australia and soon to be NZ, these are reflections of a pre-COVID-19 era which has the Labour Commissioner feeling proud of how Vanuatu to overcoming the hardships the pandemic has brought forward.
“The number of 800 is a milestone for Vanuatu especially in the pandemic, to be able to earn income and support families during COVID-19.”