Tongan RSE workers already have health checks says gov’t in wake of Samoan death

    All Tongan Regional Seasonal Employee workers undergo a routine health check every year, Tongan government liaison officer  Sefita Hao’uli said this evening.

    Hao’uli was responding to a report that a Samoan RSE worker had died in Australia.

    Samoa Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the dead man collapsed on the dance floor.

    A seasonal worker died in New Zealand last month of a suspected heart attack while playing rugby.

    Radio New Zealand said the death of the Samoan worker was expected to lead to the launch of a fitness programme and tests for potential participants in the scheme.

    Hao’uli said health checks were part of the visa application process for New Zealand and Australia.

    They were done so the workers could be insured for health and travel which was required under the RSE policy.

    The checks sometimes brought up threats such as heart and blood pressure issues and if they were serious enough, the visa application could be declined, he said.

    Where these conditions were manageable, a visa could be issued provided there was insurance cover.

    In cases like these, the worker might be required to pay a higher than normal insurance premium.

    “We do have workers who play rugby and other sport while they’re in New Zealand and in the event of an injury or death, the provisions of our Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) will cover the costs of these contingencies as well as provisions under the insurance policies,” Hao’uli said.

    Medical checks became mandatory for Tongan workers after the death of an RSE worker in 2013.

    The main points

    • All Tongan Regional Seasonal Employee workers undergo a routine health check every year, Tongan government liaison officer Sefita Hao’uli said tonight.
    • Hao’uli was responding to a report that a Samoan RSE worker had died in Australia.
    • Radio New Zealand said the death of the Samoan worker was expected to lead to the launch of a fitness programme and tests for potential participants in the scheme.
    • However, Hao’uli said health checks were part of the visa application process for Tongan workers New Zealand and Australia.

    For more information

    Spotlight on health of Samoan RSE workers

    RSE deaths revive Tonga insurance debate

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