Freedom of movement of labour is a core element of the economic integration between Australia and New Zealand and the European Union. Increased labour mobility among Pacific Island Forum Members, in particular increased access for Pacific Island Country workers to the Australia and New Zealand labour markets, has long been an objective of Pacific Island political leaders. Improved access to employment opportunities in higher income economies represents a significant opportunity for improving the living standards and productivity of Solomon Islanders.
Labour Mobility Unit
The Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) within the Department for External Trade oversees Solomon Islands’ participation in the seasonal worker programmes of Australia and New Zealand, by coordinating, facilitating and implementing the schemes. It carries out all secretarial functions, policy development, marketing, monitoring and recruitment activities. The LMU is also responsible for licensing, coordinating and managing the team of recruiting agents for the New Zealand scheme and maintains its registry of updated valid recruiting agents.
The New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and the Australian Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), through offers of employment, grant Solomon Islands’ workers significant opportunities to increase their income earning potential, enabling them to provide additional resources for their families through remittances. The schemes provide a good source of employment and encourage the development of new skills, which can be put to good use upon return to Solomon Islands.
Seasonal worker schemes have been described by the World Bank as the most effective development intervention for which we have evidence. DET plans to increase the number of participating Solomon Islands’ workers in such schemes so that more people can benefit. It is also a priority to improve support for returning workers to better manage their finances and to increase data gathering to better understand the impact of the schemes. Through PACER Plus negotiations Solomon Islands is currently seeking the expansion of schemes into additional sectors.
The core strategies of the LMU are to:
- recruit and train additional staff to support the growth of the department as well as to improve current processes
- conduct detailed data gathering on each worker upon departure and return, which will then be used to improve the programme
- engage stakeholders to support and help carry out briefing sessions
- market Solomon Islands’ workers in key markets in Australia and New Zealand with the active support of resident High Commissions, and
- push for the expansion of the schemes under the PACER Plus labour mobility chapter.
Follow the links for more information on the Solomon Islands’ participation in labour mobility schemes.
Do you want to work in Australia or New Zealand?
Solomon Islanders can participate in seasonal work for up to six months in either Australia or New Zealand.
Most jobs are in the horticulture sector. This includes fruit picking, packaging and other farm work. On average, returning workers can save between SBD$24,000 - SBD$46,000 after six months for RSE and between SBD$40,000 –SBD$80,000 after six month in Australia.
To be eligible, you will need;
- Solomon Islands’ passport
- Birth Certificate
- Police clearance report
- Must be aged between 21-45
- Be able to pass a medical examination
- Physically fit and healthy
If you meet these criteria and wish to find out more, please contact us.