The total number of Samoans finding employment in New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employment RSE Scheme in the fiscal year 2018/ 2019 is 2473.
This makes Samoa second to Vanuatu in the number of people employed in the RSE Scheme the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour Annual Report For Period Ending June 2019 stated.
In the Fiscal Year 2017/2018 the number of Samoans who travelled to New Zealand to work under this scheme was 1,878 .
Under the RSE Scheme horticulture and viticulture industries in New Zealand are allowed to recruit workers from overseas including Samoa for seasonal work when there are not enough New Zealand workers.
This labour mobility scheme came into effect in 2007 and the number was limited to 5,000 places but the success of the scheme has led to the increased demand from employers. The cap in 2019 is 14,400 according to the www.immigration.govt.nz.
Employers in New Zealand can only recruit under the RSE policy from the following Pacific countries: Fiji; Kiribati; Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
This is not however the only labour mobility scheme Samoa is a signatory to. In the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour MCIL Annual Report 2019 it reported that other established labour mobility schemes Samoa is signatory to are Australia’s Seasonal Workers Program (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) which opened up for Samoan workers to participate in longer term programs for up to 3 years; Pacific Trade Partnerships (PTP) and Approval in Principal Programs.
The report stated that “the schemes have enabled many low- skilled Samoan workers to obtain employment opportunities overseas and improve their livelihoods.”
The schemes have greatly benefitted the workers the report added.
“ Our workers have benefitted from the higher incomes earned abroad together with the acquisition of new skills, knowledge and relevant training. It is part of a “ triple win” effect, whereby workers, Samoa, and the receiving country all reap benefits.
“ Overall, Samoa is currently ranked 2nd in terms of overall RSE numbers, after Vanuatu, and remains 3rd in the SWP scheme. An increase also of 35% of Samoan workers participating in the labour mobility from 2512 in FY 2017/2018 to 3,404 for the current fiscal year in industries including viticulture, horticulture, abattoir, trade industries mainly construction and accommodation. This has also seen a slight increase of new employers from 51 in FY2017/2018 to 63 for the current fiscal year.”
The Ministry Report also stated Samoa is committed to grow and strengthen labour mobility programs.