By Radio New Zealand
Australia has announced Tonga has officially joined its Pacific Labour Scheme.
The government said Tonga’s entry into the scheme will provide more Tongans access to skills development opportunities, while also helping fill labour shortages in rural and regional Australia.
Tonga has participated in the Seasonal Worker Programme for a number of years, providing almost half of the 31,000 workers since 2012.
Tonga will now join Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu in the revamped Pacific Labour Scheme.
Workers can undertake non-seasonal work in rural and regional Australia for up to three years.
The Pacific Labour Scheme started last July.
The government said the scheme is now uncapped and will be expanded to include more Pacific countries and Timor-Leste in the future.