Australia lifting Pacific work scheme numbers

The number of Pacific people employed in Australia’s temporary work schemes will nearly double over the next year, the Australian government says.

The assistant minister for international development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, said under Australia’s pledge to step up its relationship with Pacific nations it recognised that labour mobility was a key issue for them.

This was reflected in the 40 percent annual growth of the seasonal worker scheme, while a new Pacific labour scheme would also bring in 2000 workers over the next year, she said.

“We are looking at almost a two fold increase from eight and a half thousand to nearly 16 thousand in the 2018/19 year. So the seasonal workers’ scheme is uncapped so obviously there is a huge amount of scope for the increase,” Ms Ruston said.

Papua New Guinea has queried why it cant get more workers into Australia while concerns have been raised that a new agricultural visa aimed at backpackers will threaten access for Pacific workers.

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