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 (LMU)
The overarching role of the Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) is to uphold the system in accordance with the policy framework; provide leadership, coordinate stakeholders and act as the regulatory body for labour mobility schemes on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government. It also responsible for selection, approval and managing the team of recruiting agents.
Five new officer have just been recruited to form part of the team which includes:
- Marketing Officer
- Research Officer
- Information Management Officer
- Compliance Officer
- Worker Support Officer
Current Schemes Managed by LMU
These following are labour mobility schemes currently governed and managed by the unit.
- Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) (Australia)
- Pacific Labour Scheme (Australia)
- Recognized Seasonal Employment (RSE) (New Zealand)
Labour Mobility Policy
The Policy Framework lays out the process and procedures for managing labour mobility, providing clarity on the role and responsibilities of the Labour Mobility Unit and key stakeholders (see list). The framework is a collation of stand-alone policies organised into nine policy areas that outline all aspects of the system from governance and administration to workers’ recruitment, mobilisation, return and reintegration. The policy has been launched on 6th February 2020 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (Hon: Jeremiah Manele).
Labour Mobility Strategy
The Labour Mobility Strategy was developed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2018. It has been developed in tandem with the Labour Mobility Policy Framework and together these documents outline the Solomon Islands Government’s [SIGs] plans and system for growing labour mobility opportunities over the next five year period (2019 – 2023). Fundamental principles underpinning the labour mobility strategy are that it aligns with other government strategies for the development of the domestic economy, by:
- Developing new employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders
- Increasing international earnings for investment in the domestic economy
- Developing workforce skills for entrepreneurship and the creation of new industry.
Recruitment And Worker Eligibility
Solomon Islands has since been promoting its “here to work” brand which stands for these attributes.
- Honest and reliable
- Fit and healthy
- Friendly and approachable
- Proactive and adoptable
Besides this, it is important that you able to meet these prerequisite to be considered in the schemes
- Solomon Islands’ passport
- Police clearance report
- Must be aged between 21-45 years
- Be able to pass a medical examination
- Physically fit and healthy
LMU supports a range of recruitment methods to respond to the various needs of employers and schemes and does not cap limitation on any bilateral arrangement that will help promote Solomon Islanders for work opportunities aboard under any of the labour mobility schemes. To date, we have three (3) modes of recruitment
Direct Recruitment method is used by international employers that have been approved to recruit workers from the Solomon Islands by their country’s Government (or scheme manager) and have decided not to use the Solomon Islands Governments’ (LMU) Work Ready Pool (WRP) or using any of the approved recruiting agents.
Agent Recruitment Method is used when an international employer that has been approved to recruit workers from the Solomon Islands by their country’s Government (or scheme manager) have decided to use any of the approved and registered agent in Solomon Islands.
Work Ready Pool (WRP)
This method refers to when recruitments were carried out on behalf of an international employer that has been approved to recruit workers from the Solomon Islands by their country’s Government (or scheme manager) by LMU itself or the Support Services - Project funded by Australian Government to support LMU. WRP is targeted towards getting workers for the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) as it is important that we able to understand the set of skills and attributes that employers may require from their workers.
NB: More generally, which ever method is being used, it is important that the workers selected must be:
- employers’ specific workforce needs are provided for
- the requirements and rules of labour mobility schemes are met
- a fair and transparent process is consistently applied to the recruitment of workers
- workers are recruited in accordance with LMUs Policy Framework
- workers exemplify LMU’s values under the Here to Work brand
- Worker Testimony: