New Zealand High Commission Port Vila, Vanuatu

New Zealand and Vanuatu update Recognised Seasonal Employer Arrangements

High Commissioner Roberts and Labour Commissioner Kaluat after the signing

New Zealand and Vanuatu have signed updated arrangements governing the labour mobility scheme, the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) programme.

The Inter Agency Understanding provides guidance on the procedures that need to be followed by each country, workers and employers when utilising the RSE scheme.

“The RSE is a very important programme for both Vanuatu and New Zealand,’’ High Commissioner Georgina Roberts said.

“With almost 3000 workers travelling to New Zealand each year, the scheme plays a vital role in supporting the horticulture and wine industries of New Zealand.

“We also know how important the incomes earned by RSE workers are here in Vanuatu, not just for those who go on the work programme, but for their families, their communities and for Vanuatu.

“It is a win-win programme and we look forward to its continuing success’’.

The Inter Agency Understanding was signed by Ms Roberts, on behalf of the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and by Vanuatu’s Labour Commissioner Lionel Kaluat.

It sets guidelines for many RSE recruitment processes, such as applying for visas which require medical clearances using approved panel doctors, as well as expectations with regards to pre-departure training and pastoral care for workers in New Zealand.

Mr Kaluat said the updated arrangements also pave the way for Vanuatu to strengthen its recruitment and selections, and to look carefully at health requirements.

He said it was crucial for the sustainability and growth of the scheme for Vanuatu.

"We must work closely to the requirements of the agreement and to continue to demonstrate that Vanuatu is a role model for RSE”.

Mr Kaluat said there has been on-going discussions about the returning home plan for workers.

"We still have to take a complete stock take among all line agencies to enable us to confirm that we will be able to transform rural communities by empowering rural workers to become entrepreneurs in their own communities’’.

Eight thousand workers, mostly from the Pacific Islands, travel to New Zealand each year under the RSE.

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