Seasonal workers

160 Ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers arrive in Perth

A total of 160 workers travelled on an Air Vanuatu plane a day after another aircraft transported seasonal workers to Tasmania.

Both groups are now in mandatory quarantine in government isolation facilities.

During the 14-day quarantine period, the workers will be tested for Covid-19 to ensure that they do not pose a health risk to the local communities.

The workers are part of the Federal Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme.

An earlier group of 162 seasonal workers arrived in Western Australia last month when the SWP restarted.

Tasmania’s berry industry excited about arrival of Vanuatu seasonal workers

More than 100 Ni-Vanuatu workers landed in Hobart yesterday (Wednesday).

Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish said the new arrivals will be helping a number of leading berry producers in northern Tasmania to harvest strawberries, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry harvesting work.

The workers will undergo 14 days isolation in a Government-run quarantine facility before being released into the community.

During the quarantine period, workers are tested for COVID-19 throughout this period to make sure they do not pose a health risk to the Tasmanian population.

Ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers arrive in Australia

The workers flew out of Port Vila yesterday (Wednesday).

They are the first of 650 Ni-Vanuatu workers that will travel to Australia this month under the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme.

A second flight is scheduled to take another group today.

According to the Australian High Commission, the deployment of the workers is a testament to the strength of the Australia-Vanuatu relationship and the importance of labour mobility to the two countries as they stand together in response to Covid-19.


Employers urged to focus on health needs, housing for seasonal workers

The government will bring in 2000 Recognised Seasonal Employer, or RSE, workers into the country to help with harvests.

Growers must pay isolation facility costs for each worker and also pay them the living wage of just over $22 an hour.

The co-convenor of Komiti Pasefika, CTU, Caroline Mareko supports the changes to the programme restrictions and adds that increasing the living wage will make a big difference to families.

"It's great news this is happening," she said.

NZ horticulture sector hopeful of bringing Pacific workers back

Along with viticulture, the sector's usual system of employing Pacific Islanders under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme has been disrupted by the pandemic.

Pipfruit New Zealand's Trade Policy and Strategy spokesman Gary Jones says his sector is three or four thousand workers short.

He said growers believed they should be able to bring in workers from covid-free countries.

Jones said plans were in place to ensure workers who come for the seasonal work could get back home again.

Vanuatu Government to abolish seasonal work agents

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Ishmael Kalsakau confirmed that the Council of Ministers endorsed the removal of all agents in the Seasonal Worker Programme and Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) work in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Mr Kalsakau, the government is taking over such responsibility to ensure fairness in the recruitment process and that the benefits derived from the SWP programmes have far-reaching effects to the remote islands of Vanuatu.

NT seasonal worker pilot: managing worker safety in the COVID-19 era

The pilot programme has the potential for more ni-Vanuatu workers to follow.

Covid testing will not lead to penalties for invalid visa holders - NZ govt

Hundreds of seasonal workers have been stranded in New Zealand over recent months, some with expiring visas.

Pacific leaders had already raised concern about those with uncertain immigration status missing out on assistance or healthcare because of fear of being discovered.

However the minister, Chris Hipkins, encouraged them to get tested for Covid-19 if they needed to.

"We will not use the information collected through the Covid-19 testing process for other purposes, including for immigration purposes," Mr Hipkins said.

Deal allowing 170 Vanuatu workers to work on Australian mango farms very close

The ABC understands that details of the Vanuatu deal are to be announced by the Australian Government.

No Pacific seasonal workers have travelled to Australia since the closure of international borders in March, but there have been growing calls to let foreign workers in over fears that fruits will rot on trees otherwise.

Vanuatu's Labour Commissioner Muriel Meltenoven says talks have been held up by health and safety conditions for workers.

Stranded Pacific workers 'losing hope' of going home

More than 1500 workers from the Pacific who were due to return home in May are still in the region, and with the season officially over there is little paid work.

The mental health and wellbeing of 117 Samoan workers employed by Johnny Appleseed in Hastings was now the company's biggest concern, operations manager Len Thompson said.

"There's depression, anxiety, and there's anger. The problem is there is no day set for their return."