9 Responses

  1. Melanesian Seasonal Employers
    Melanesian Seasonal Employers February 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Vanuatu made the decision early on to let the “Private Sector” do the recruitment and for the “Employment Services Unit” under the Department of Labour to regulate by Licencing. This concious decision by Hon. Ham Lini was to keep “Politics” at arms length from who was being recruited. I think this has been the critical difference between Vanuatu and PNG and Solomon Islands. The other critical factor is the person of “Lionel Kaluat” who has stuck with the program from day 1. He works hard, provides good leadership and is a good public servant who is the single champion for labour mobility in Vanuatu. I have seen workers coming back with anywhere from 300,000 vatu to 1.5 million vatu in savings after 6 months. The median savings is 600,000 vatu. I have 225 people in Australia at the moment. 20 are female. Yesterday Lionel Kaluat handed out 28 licenses to recruit for Australia and 9 Licensed for NZ. We compete to find farms in Aus and NZ to place workers. We inmovate in Vanuatu to find the funds for birth certificates, passports, police clearances, medical checks, visa costs, airfares, establishment costs and the nomal screening, selection and training costs.

  2. Bryant Allen
    Bryant Allen January 27, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Papua New Guineans face great difficulties if they wish to participate in the Seasonal Worker Program. The information provided by DFAT lists an agent based in Port Moresby and also lists his phone numbers and email addresses. If a person who wants to participate in the scheme can get him to respond to their inquiries they then must obtain a passport . Before they can get a passport they must get a birth certificate. These things can only be obtained in Port Moresby and only by paying money. If they live in Southern Highlands or East Sepik, they face an expensive air fare to get to Port Moresby and then the costs associated with the passport and living in Port Moresby while they wait for these documents to be produced..

    But they are unlikely to get a response from DFAT’s agent. I have twice tried to help men who I thought would make excellent seasonal workers: mature, good horticulturalists, hard workers; good speakers of English; and very keen to learn about new ways of growing and selling vegetables and fruit from their Australian experience. One lived near Tari, the other near Maprik. I emailed and phoned the person listed by DFAT numerous times on behalf of these men but have never received a response. When I asked DFAT what to do, I was referred back to the agent.

    I can’t know for sure, but it is possible that DFAT paying someone to do a job that they are not doing is the problem here.

    1. Richard Curtain
      Richard Curtain January 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      Your opening sentence is correct: ‘Papua New Guineans face great difficulties if they wish to participate in the Seasonal Worker Program’. The Seasonal Worker Coordination Office operates with very few resources. However, DFAT does not have anything to do with the operational aspects of the seasonal worker program in PNG or in Australia. PNG does not permit agents to recruit for a fee. The PNG contact listed by the Australian Department of Employment is: David L Haro, Manager, National Employment Services, Department of Labour & industrial Relations, Phone Number: +675 325 2022, 325 0414 (switch), Direct line: +675 325 4593, Email Address: tevitaharo@gmail.com. There is a website that can be used to lodge applications.

      I did a review for the ILO of PNG Department of Labour’s National Employment Services Division in October last year. The Seasonal Worker Coordination Office is part of that Division. Those who want to do seasonal work apply to the Seasonal Worker Coordination Office over the counter, by email or by mail. Applications are screened and processed by four regional officers of the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations and sent to the Coordinator. If the application is complete, it is entered into the Work Ready Pool database.

      The selection of seasonal workers is done from the Work Ready Pool. With a request from an employer, the Office staff screen and process the applications in terms of the employers’ specifications in terms of height and weight, age and other attributes the employer may request such as a driver’s licence or relevant work experience.

      Recruiters are not permitted to recruit workers for employers for a fee. The The PNG Government retains the sole right to select workers for employers who have the final choice. It is the responsibility of the Office to advertise how to apply for the Work Ready Pool. This is done in the major towns, Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul and some provincial towns such as Popondetta and Mt Hagen. This advertising is done by radio and segments on TV. One valuable form of publicity is to get the media to interview workers when they return from working in Australia and New Zealand. Applicants for the Work Ready Pool, according to the website ‘must be from rural areas ie districts and communities’.

      Compared with recent efforts by Fiji, PNG does little or nothing to encourage recruitment from rural areas apart from the above – this is the subject of a blog we are posting this week. Bryant, hope this helps.

  3. Caroline Laore
    Caroline Laore January 26, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Have we got data from the workers themselves?

    1. Henry Sherrell
      Henry Sherrell January 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Hi Caroline. I’m not aware of any Australia data on what happens with the workers income and impact in their home countries however there is good data from a number of studies about what happens when workers remit income as temporary seasonal workers. I would recommend John Gibson and David McKenzie’s work. Here is a World Bank paper on the topic.

      Cheers, Henry

  4. Tess Newton Cain
    Tess Newton Cain January 25, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I take your point Henry but I disagree that the sort of research I have identified can be left on the back burner while we focus on getting Solomon Islands & PNG better integrated. It needs to be happening now so that the findings can be factored in to any scaling up that is envisaged or planned.

  5. Tess Newton Cain
    Tess Newton Cain January 25, 2017 at 10:04 am

    This is a very clear presentation of some important data on this issue. This whole discussion remains lacking in information about how these migration schemes are perceived in labour-sending countries. There is a growing and multi-layered discourse in the region around whether countries should participate, who should have the opportunities (with particular reference to female participation and the rural/urban divide) and (increasingly) the negative effects whether cultural, social or economic. All of this needs to feed into how these schemes are further developed, marketed and assessed if it is to be part of the longer term future for Pacific development

    1. Henry Sherrell
      Henry Sherrell January 25, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for the comment Tess. I agree there needs to be a broader discussion on these programs and as you note, the impact of emigration can be significant, meaning it should be assessed alongside any effects from immigration. However before we get to the longer term future of labour mobility for Pacific development, I think there needs to be more focus on those countries struggling to participate in the present. Tonga and Vanuatu have effectively gained access to both the RSE and SWP however other countries have struggled mightily. It’s hard to discuss further development, marketing and assessment of the SWP if the numbers from countries with larger populations like PNG and the Solomons are in the tens instead of hundreds or thousands. While there is an argument all of this should be addressed concurrently, there are clearly capacity issues and resource constraints for migration and foreign policy development on an issue as “niche” as Pacific labour mobility. Cheers, Henry

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