New Zealand High Commission Honiara, Solomon Islands

Increase in Solomon Islands RSE numbers

Ms Sarah Wong, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner (centre left) and Mr Barrett Salato, Director of the Solomon Islands Labour Mobility Unit (centre right) pictured with agents for the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

In a joint media statement today the New Zealand High Commission and the Solomon Islands Labour Mobility Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade announced an increase in the number of Solomon Islands workers eligible to participate in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme in New Zealand.

The scheme provides the opportunity for Pacific workers, including Solomon Islanders, to travel to New Zealand and work in the agricultural sector. Workers are employed in regions across New Zealand in roles including fruit picking, tree pruning, planting and packing.

Mr Barrett Salato, Director of the Solomon Islands Labour Mobility Unit, and Ms Sarah Wong, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner, jointly announced today that in 2014 Solomon Islands will be allocated 594 RSE places. "This is an outstanding result for Solomon Islands and represents an increase of more than 20% on the number of places allocated in 2013" Mr Barrett said.

"The RSE scheme is employer driven, meaning the increase in available spaces has been a result of the performance of Solomon Islanders who worked in New Zealand last season. Their exceptional performance has been rewarded with Solomon Islands receiving an extra 120 places in 2014"

Ms Wong joined Mr Barrett in congratulating Solomon Island workers. "This is a fantastic result and reflects the very high regard New Zealand employers have for Solomon Islands workers."

On average Pacific workers return home with NZ$7,000 (SBD$38,500) each meaning the 2014 increase in numbers will result in an important boost in income for the Solomon Island families concerned" Ms Wong said.

Solomon Islands has a well-deserved reputation for sending high quality workers to New Zealand and currently leads the way when it comes to employers seeking contract renewals. Ms Wong commented, "More Solomon Islanders are asked to return to New Zealand to work in subsequent years than any other RSE participating country. New Zealand remains hopeful that this great reputation will support a steady trend of increasing RSE opportunities in future years too."

"The RSE scheme provides an important economic and cultural bridge between our two countries. Importantly it provides our agricultural sector with access to a high quality labour source, and for workers it provides a good income stream and the opportunity to experience life in New Zealand. For many New Zealanders their first encounter with the people of Solomon Islanders is through the RSE scheme and this is something we are keen to see continued" said Ms Wong.



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