Group of workers for debriefing yesterday with more today for SWP

“This financial year it is expected the number of seasonal workers from Vanuatu in Australia will reach 3,000 plus.

“Currently Vanuatu is topping the charts of seasonal workers in both New Zealand and Australia”.

Compliance Officer of Employment Service Unit, Patrice Koautonga makes the remarks as over 30 more workers are debriefing this week to leave under Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) for Australia.

He says the number of seasonal workers on the ground in Australia from January until May stands at 1,170 workers and is growing.

Meanwhile, the numbers of workers from Tonga and Samoa have dropped as employers are moving away from the Polynesian countries due to incidents of absconding and focusing on Vanuatu.

Asked what it is that has been enticing New Zealand and Australian farmers to recruit workers from Vanuatu, the Employment Unit Compliance Officer names “culture and family oriented spirit” as among the reasons why ni-Vanuatu workers complete their contracts then return home without any second thought of absconding. “When we go to work overseas, our culture and family connections are strong so they keep pulling us to return home”, he says.

“Make sure your love for your country comes first so that when you are overseas at work, your love for your country always leads you back safely home”.

Also he echoes the Acting Commissioner of Labour, John Tasso’s call for all workers not to adopt seasonal work as a form of permanent employment.

Instead he recommends all workers to work for up to five years, then use their earnings to set up their own businesses to create local employment opportunities for people in their communities.

“An article in the Daily Post this week that reported seasonal workers on Tanna as having used their earnings to start a new tour operation called Toka Dance Product, is one classic example of what the Acting Commissioner wants to see returnees get involved in”, he says.

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