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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Fiji May Benefit From 1,200 Jobs In MSG Work Scheme
Skilled workers will be able to move between MSG countries

By Sheenal Sharma

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 29, 2012) – About 1,200 jobs will be available for Fijians in specialized fields in Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries to fill the shortages.

This is part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group's Skills Movement Scheme, which is the region's first scheme to facilitate the movement of skilled workers among MSG member countries.

This was revealed at the first national workshop on the MSG Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) in Suva yesterday.

Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali said the scheme was an innovative instrument to enable the movement of skilled workers amongst the MSG members to fill shortages where they existed.

Mr. Ali said the scheme was a non-binding framework of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the MSG countries in March this year.

"This trial scheme will enable the MSG countries to put together a more permanent legal structure for the Temporary Movement of Natural Persons (TMNP) under the MSG Trade Agreement," he said.

He said the three key implementation agencies were the Ministry of Labour, Department of Immigration and the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Ali said 1,200 jobs were available for the Fijian workforce in specialized fields in the MSG countries to fill the shortages. "Each MSG member has committed a minimum quota of 400 jobs based on an average of 0.05 percent of the total workforce in one MSG country," he said.

He said the scheme, once implemented, would enhance the total skills base in the MSG region and contribute towards regional integration and economic wellbeing.

"The scheme will create employment and generate economic activity not only in Fiji but in the whole MSG region," he said.

Mr. Ali said the temporary movement of skills would create economic activity in the receiving country and would generate revenue for the sending country through remittances.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.
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