Seasonal workers program: No immediate plans to expand recruitment, says NZ

Seasonal workers in NZ. Picture: RNZ

New Zealand does not have immediate plans of expanding the recruitment of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme at this stage.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman Susan Pepperell said New Zealand recognised the importance of the RSE to the Pacific, including Fiji.

“However, at this stage, there are no immediate plans to expand the recruitment of RSE workers,” Ms Pepperell said.

“New Zealand’s goal remains to progressively reopen borders to the world when it is safe to do so.

“The decision to implement one-way quarantine-free travel arrangements with Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga was based on a number of factors, including COVID risk, flight connectivity, and employer demand.

“We are taking a careful, staged approach to implementation with only RSE workers from those three countries eligible for one-way quarantine-free travel initially.”

Ms Pepperell said this approach was an indication of their commitment to progressing opportunities for RSE workers safely and at the right time. She said there were about 270 Fijian RSE workers in New Zealand.

“They are able to continue working for RSE employers, who are responsible for providing pastoral care and ensuring the wellbeing of workers while they are in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, who is responsible for the management of the RSE scheme, maintains regular contact with Fiji’s High Commission in New Zealand.”

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