The first Tongan woman to work in Australia in its Pacific Labour Scheme is Mariska Koso of ‘Ananā.
Koso will be joined by another 42 workers who are expected to leave Tonga next week to work under the scheme.
“The Pacific Labour Scheme allows people from Pacific island countries to work in low and semi-skilled jobs in rural and regional Australia for up to 3 years.”
The scheme gives advice and assistance to employers and employees to help them understand their workplace rights and obligations.
This means the employees under the scheme have the same workplace rights as other employees in Australia.
Koso met with the Australian High Commission’s Second Secretary, Leon Braun, who congratulated her and wished her all the best.
“This is an exciting moment for both our countries,” Mr Braun, who manages Australia’s labour mobility programs in Tonga said.
“The Pacific Labour Scheme opens up great opportunities for Tongans to earn income and learn new skills in Australia for up to three years, and is helping Australian employers in a variety of industries overcome regional labour shortages.”
Miss Koso worked in Tasmania last year for six months under the Seasonal Worker’s Programme.
“This is an opportunity not just for me, but also for my family. Through this work, I can help my father and pay for my younger siblings’ education,” Mariska was reported as saying.
She will work in Tasmania over the next three years in housekeeping and cooking.
The Pacific Labour Scheme commenced on 1 July 2018 following a successful pilot program in northern Australia and building on the success of the Seasonal Worker Programme.