M.C.I.L. issues seasonal worker scam warning
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labour (M.C.I.L.) has warned members of the public about false registration scams for false seasonal worker programmes.
In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry, Pulotu Chu Ling, says that registration for seasonal worker placements for overseas engagements in countries such as New Zealand and Australia are solely conducted by the Ministry.
Other people or entities claiming to have the authority or ability to do so are likely to be duping consumers, especially if they ask them for money,
The announcement follows the resumption of seasonal work in Australia where Samoa will deploy more than 600 workers from mid-April to May 2021.
These will be the first cohort of Samoan workers to arrive in Australia since last April 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in international travel restrictions and border closures.
Pulotu stated anyone carrying out registrations claiming to secure foreign work placements in any villages or is aware of such activities going on should inform the Ministry.
The M.C.I.L. C.E.O. stressed people must avoid making payments towards scam artists who are posing as official registration agents.
The Ministry warned those engaged in the scam to immediately cease their behaviour.
Pulotu explained that it is important to note that so far, the Ministry is not currently carrying out any registrations but the public will be informed in the event of any changes.
The reason behind the halt in all registrations is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the total grounding or decrease in both flight numbers and work opportunities.
In the meantime, M.C.I.L. stated that there are ongoing talks between the current caretaker Government and overseas partners about work opportunities.
The Ministry advised members of the public who are seeking information to call 20441 for more information.
Samoa last participated in the Seasonal Worker Programme scheme in 2012 and the Pacific Labour Scheme in 2018.
M.C.I.L. attributed the resumption of the two schemes to the close partnership between the Australian and Samoan governments.
It is understood the current group of seasonal workers will travel to Australia between April 7–13 and before undergoing a 14-day period of quarantine upon arrival.
More than 700 other Samoan seasonal workers left the country for New Zealand in mid-February and have reportedly settled into their new jobs.
Industry groups in both countries are calling for an increase in the amount of Pacific labour being brought into their countries, as shortages are costing farmers millions of dollars.