Over 2,400 Samoans in seasonal work abroad

A total of 2,405 Samoans are employed under the seasonal workers scheme in Australia and New Zealand. 

The figure was confirmed by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Labour (MCIL). 

Out of the 2,405 seasonal scheme workers, a total of 1,878 are employed under the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) programme in New Zealand and 527 under the Seasonal Workers programme in Australia. 

MCIL Chief Executive Officer, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, said the number of seasonal workers recruited every year has increased since it first started 12 years ago. 

He confirmed a total of 38 RSE employers recruited Samoans to work for them. 

“I can safely confirm that it started off low. Every financial year it builds up or increases,” he said to the Samoa Observer. 

“It’s still increasing because the gap (number of seasonal workers that the New Zealand Government has approved for the Pacific) has already been reached. 

“Every time New Zealand sends a seasonal worker from any Pacific Island back because of misbehavior, then the other country will take on that replacement.” 

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Pulotu also credited the seasonal workers program for improvement in Samoan families’ standards of living.

He said the improvements are a testimony of the success of the program. 

“If you visit the communities here, especially at Falealii area and that side, you will notice the change in standard of living, people driving cars, children going to school with new uniforms and shoes etc.,” he said, adding there is more than just one advantage of the programme. 

“If you look at it from another perspective, they are coming back with experience in that area managing a farm, and if you look at our own small economy, we have small farms (and) most of them subsistence. And some of them, which have expanded a little bit, are now becoming small commercial which they depend on for their living. 

“So coming back with that experience, they can build up their lives, their own developments at home, the skills, and the management on why those employers are so successful with their agriculture farms.”

Pulotu said there’s also the belief that if these workers save a lot of money, then the propensity to invest in the country will also increase. 

“They come and invest in terms of starting their own business. They send money to their immediate ones every week or fortnight for the families here, but they save a lot there and they bring that money here.

“It all depends on the individual. If they go there with a vision to earn and save and come back with more than enough to help their families.

“It’s good to earn money from overseas. Obviously it’s more than what we have here with our limited resources.” 

He added one good thing about the seasonal workers is that they will always come back to Samoa and contribute to the development of the country. 

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