Australia backs off proposed Asian work visa that threatens regional Pacific work scheme

    Ki’i ta’ofi tu’u e palani ‘a e pule’anga ‘Aositelēlia’ ke foaki ha visa ngāue fo’ou ma’a e kau ‘Ēsia’ koe’uhi ko e manavasi’i na’a mole ai e faingamālie ngāue ki he kakai ‘Otu Motu Pasifiki’. Ko e fokotu’utu’u ne fai’ ne kau ai hano ‘oange e ngāue ia ‘oku lolotonga ma’u ‘e he kakai ‘ailani’ he ngāue fakafa'ahi ta'u pe toli' ki he kau ‘Esia’.

    Plans by the Australian government to introduce a new work visa for Asians that threatens places for Island workers, has been put on hold.

    The Vanuatu Post reported that experts argued that the proposed visa would have endangered gains made by Pacific workers.

    The proposal would have given Asian workers opportunities now offered to Pacific workers under Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme.

    The Post said policy experts feared the resulting influx of workers would outnumber and out-compete Pacific island workers, and possibly lead to the effective demise of the programme.

    However, following public opposition to the proposal, the Australian government has now backed off and shelved the proposal.

    However, it is believed that this is only a temporary move on the part of the Australian government and the ABC has reported that it is still being developed.

    Vanuatu now has more workers in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Programme than any other Island  nation. It has a 40% share, with 3350 workers.

    Tonga now has a 33% share of the programme with 2790 workers. Tonga once dominated Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme, providing 81% of workers.

    In Tonga, the number of workers participating in the Australian programme and its New Zealand equivalent, has reached 13% of the eligible population (those aged 20-45).

    According to Tonga’s Minister of Internal Affairs ‘Akosita Lavulavu, the kingdom earns US$45 million a year from season work in the two countries.

    The main points

    • Plans by the Australian government to introduce a new work visa for Asians that threatened places for Island workers, has been put on hold.
    • The Vanuatu Post reported that experts argued that the proposed visa would have endangered gains made by Pacific workers.
    • The proposal would have given Asian workers opportunities now offered to Pacific workers under Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme.

    For more information 

    Agriculture Visa Delayed

    Another bumper year for the Seasonal Worker Programme

    Tonga earns US$45m a year from seasonal work

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