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Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Zealand opens its doors for seasonal workers from the Pacific

Solomon Islands will be among 12 members Pacific Forum states to benefit from a new seasonal workers scheme set up by New Zealand.

Successful applicants under the scheme will be able to work in New Zealand for periods ranging from six weeks to seven months.

SIBC reports say the new scheme was jointly announced yesterday by two New Zealand Government Ministers. They are the Minister for Social and Development David Benson Pope and the Minister for Immigration David Cuncliffe. The scheme is expected to start in April 2007.

Six Pacific nations, Fiji, Vanuatu,Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Samoa will be the first countries to engage in the scheme with a recruitment workforce of 400 each. The rest of other Pacific states including Solomon Islands will join later.

Immigration Minister, Mr Cuncliffe says New Zealand is prioritising Pacific Islands people as temporary migrant workers given its special relationship and commitment to the region.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Australia has stood its ground not to allow any seasonal Pacific Island workers onto its soil but it would instead establish a Pacific Technical College for Pacific Islanders. Australia's South Pacific College will be based in Fiji, with regional training centres in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Samoa.

Source: SIBC

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