Seasonal work agents unsure of proposed policy

By Talaia Mika 04 November 2023, 10:30PM

Seasonal work agents, who were present at an awareness session run by the Ministry of Finance on the draft labour mobility policy, have expressed mixed reactions.

The awareness was held last week at the Tatte building with the session focused on promoting the proposed changes in the draft policy and included the involvement of constituencies in selecting workers.

One of the recruiters and agent representatives questioned whether the recruitment would not be biased and susceptible to influence due to the political affiliations of the districts managing the recruitment drive. 

"I have been recruiting workers from Samoa to overseas countries a long time ago during the former administration and before Samoa started this program," he said. "My request is I hope they do a great job and wisely allocate the opportunities to each one that needs it in the districts.

"With what is happening now, districts are fighting over the SAT$1 million project and this can be a similar case because I have noticed that one of the big changes in this policy is the authority been given to the districts for the selection whereas before it was all done by the government and some companies.

"Because to be honest, some district committees are very biased with how they carry out the selection process for such opportunities. But I am happy without it, let the government allocate the work opportunities and sort it out themselves."

Sala also added that he is confident in the private companies or recruiters that are carrying out the work that helps people and does not limit the opportunities to certain people.

"I just hope they don't take this as an opportunity to carry out their campaigns while at the same time being biased with the opportunities," he added.

Other participants or recruiters also expressed other concerns about the SAT$10,000 facilitation fee that the district committees and recruiters are required to pay under the new proposed changes.

Meanwhile, the Samoa government highlighted in their drafted labour mobility policy that they plan to impose annual facilitation fees on Constituency Development Committees as part of cost-recovery measures aside from the facilitation fee on private agents.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is currently rolling out awareness sessions with recruiters and C.O.Cs in Savaii and Upolu as part of the policy review before it is brought to the Cabinet for final approval.

"Incorporate the Constituency Development Committees into the Labour and Employment Export Programme (LEEP) process, i.e., the Constituency Development Committees will designate their contact person that will work with LEEP," the draft reads. "MOU with each constituency Development Committee outlining roles and responsibilities.

"The Government of Samoa intends to impose an annual facilitation fee to be paid by the Constituency Development Committee as part of the cost-recovery measures." 

Other proposed conditions to the policy review comprise duration and renewal: (a) valid for a period of 12 months from the date of issue; (b) may be renewed on an annual basis upon payment of renewal fee; (c) variation, suspension and revocation. The decision to grant a recruiter's license remains the prerogative of MCIL-LEP, with decisions made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the policy requirements. 

By Talaia Mika 04 November 2023, 10:30PM
Samoa Observer

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