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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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


Vanuatu To Crack Down On Fake Seasonal Work Agents
Labour officer calls on public to report individuals collecting money

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 22, 2013) – The Office of the Employment Services Unit in Vanuatu has sent out an urgent public appeal for anyone who knows the names of individuals who collect money to send workers to work under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme in New Zealand and Seasonal Worker Programme in Australia to report them to the Employment Services Unit on telephone number 29937.

Senior Labour Officer of ESU Tarisu Kailes says it is unlawful for anyone to pay any money to anyone claiming to be a licensee or agent for anyone wanting to work under the RSE Scheme in New Zealand or SWP in Australia.

The Seasonal Employment Act No.23 of 2007 lays out the procedure under which a person can apply to work either in New Zealand or Australia. "The Act defines the process to abide by if a person wants to become a seasonal employment work agent and it specifically says it is illegal for the person to collect money from those applicants applying to work in either New Zealand or Australia", the Senior Labour Officer says.

"Come to the ESU Office on the top floor of Vila Mall to find who the registered agents for the RSE and SWP are that have been approved of by the Commissioner of Labour in order to apply through the relevant agent for either New Zealand or Australia".

The ESU Officer says in the Policy that has been signed between Vanuatu and Australia, there are conditions that both farmers and contractors in Australia have to meet in order to allow them to recruit workers from Vanuatu. "In the same way applicants from Vanuatu must qualify through the relevant criteria to go to work under the SWP in Australia," Kailes says.

Not all farmers in Australia can recruit workers from Vanuatu. Those that do are approved of by the Government of Australia.

If a farmer wants to become a recruiter, he or she must apply to the Australian Government to become an Australian Approved Employer (AAE). Only AAEs can recruit workers from Vanuatu to work under the SWP.

Every AAE must complete an Australian Government required Labour Testing Requirement to confirm that no Australian can be employed in the area of work in order to recruit workers from the Pacific Island Nations.

There are two main criteria that all applicants must comply with. One is that the applicant must be between 21 and 45 years old and the other is that if a worker has worked under the RSE in New Zealand, he or she must wait for three years before applying to work under the SWP in Australia.

The ESU Office calls on members of the public as well as applicants to report those individuals who capitalise on the RSE and SWP to defraud those wishing to work in New Zealand and Australia for quick cash.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com
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