Fiji Time: 6:15 PM on Tuesday 23 January

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Scheme for rural people

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, January 13, 2018

GOVERNMENT'S seasonal worker scheme was presently open for rural residents only, but this policy could soon be opened up to urban dwellers, says Employment and Industrial Relations Ministry deputy secretary Vilimone Baledrokadroka.

Speaking at the draft National Employment Policy consultation in Lautoka yesterday, he said the scheme was only open to rural residents because of Government's intention to provide opportunities to all citizens.

"Government is giving first priority to people living in isolated rural communities for participation in farm work in Australia and New Zealand and that is Government policy at this point in time," he said.

"We believe that in the urban centres people have many sources of income available to them, whereas people living in isolated rural communities, they almost have no source of income or limited source of income.

"That is why that opportunity is given to them first.

"So until such time as Government changes that, that policy will remain."

Mr Baledrokadroka added that opportunities could soon be made available for urban dwellers.

"There are other areas opening up now like tourism for example.

"There are also opportunities in caregiving and Government's intent is to offer these to people in urban areas because you are accessible to training facilities so you can acquire the right skills to do that.

"But for farm work, given our experience in 2015 when the majority of our people who went to work in farms in Australia were from the main urban centres and they really spoilt our reputation, that is why we are adamant on giving it out to rural dwellers."

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