TONGAN SEASONAL WORKERS OFF TO NEW ZEALAND

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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Aug 23) – Six Tongan seasonal workers will leave for New Zealand on September 1, the second group joining the new RSE scheme this year.

The men aged between 20-30, include one from 'Eua, two from Vava'u, two from Ha'apai and one from Talafo'ou, Tongatapu, have been contracted to Inglis Horticulture Ltd of Nelson in New Zealand's South Island.

Sione Maumau, the Deputy Secretary at Tonga's Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Small Industries, said today the second group will remain in New Zealand for seven months.

Inglis Horticulture is an apple orchard and the workers tasks will include picking. Sione said that the company conducted the recruitment of the six men. It's Operation Manager and a Tongan who is the company's agent were in Tonga a week ago and recruited 41 seasonal workers. Only six will leave for New Zealand on September 1 and the remaining 35 men will travel to New Zealand on November 1.

Recruiting

Sione clarified there are three ways in recruiting workers under the scheme, the first is recruitment by the farm or the employer, secondly from the Ministry of Labour's database of names they have selected, or from outside the database.

Of the six men recruited, four of the men's names were already in the database and two were chosen from outside the database but their names will be inputted because of their recruitment.

Sione added that under RSE or the NZ Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme the maximum period for Tongan seasonal workers to remain in New Zealand is seven months. This scheme is an advantage for honest Tongans who return when their time is up because they will have many more chances to be recruited again, he added.

Sione said that the six men who had already been issued with their visas were currently taking a three-day pre-orientation training at the Nuku'alofa New Zealand Immigration office before their trip.

The first group of 20 Tongan seasonal workers, left for New Zealand on July 20.

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