Vanuatu Celebrates 10 Years Of Participation In New Zealand Seasonal Workers Scheme

3,500 employees have benefitted from partnership

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 13, 2017) – Vanuatu’s Department of Labour, New Zealand High Commission and all agents sending workers to New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are celebrating ten years of partnership in April this year.

From the beginning of the scheme when only a few workers were sent, Vanuatu now boasts 3,500 workers under the RSE.

With the Government of New Zealand now opening up the recruitment gap for 1,000 more workers, the Labour Department is working with agents to ensure Vanuatu meets its target of at least 500 more workers.

With only two months away to celebrate a decade, the Commissioner of Labour, Lionel Kaluat, is calling on all agents to do the right thing and not spoil the spirit of the day by doing something silly to tarnish the reputation of the partnership.

He gives as an example recent reports that individuals were “recruiting” people on Santo, and allegedly charging them a fee to go to work in Tasmania, Australia while a formal arrangement has yet to be made between Australia and Vanuatu.

Commissioner Kaluat says, “I have already sent an officer to go to Santo and put a stop to such illegal recruitment through illegal means as the persons have no license issued by my office to become an agent.

“My point is that the scheme is regulated by an act of parliament so when you start to operate outside it, the law is going to catch you.”

He says if a complaint comes to him from a chief that an agent is recruiting workers from a particular community or island or for political gain, automatically the agent is going to lose his or her license.

Since its introduction, the RSE scheme has positively changed the lives of many ni-Vanuatu living in rural settings in terms of improving their lives.

RSE workers have built new houses, bought public transports or boats and even have assisted with community projects such as building churches and clinics.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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