18 Mar Tonga Joins the Pacific Labour Scheme
The Minister of Foreign Affairs’ website includes the following announcement:
Expanding the Pacific Labour Scheme and establishing an office of the Pacific.
Joint media releases
- The Hon Scott Morrisson MP, Prime Minister
- Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs
15th of November 2018
Australia will continue to take our partnership with the Pacific to new levels. Building Pacific labour mobility is a priority for Australia and for our partners in the Pacific.
Our Governement will Progressively roll out the Pacific Labour Scheme all across the Pacific Island countries. The scheme is currently open to 6 Pacific countries, Tonga will be the next country to join the scheme. We will also discuss with our Papua New Guinean counterparts a pathway for Papua New Guinea to join the scheme.
In addition, the current cap of 2,000 places will be lifted, providing more opportunities for Pacific Workers to undertake non-seasonal work for up to 3 years.
Uncapping the scheme builds on the success of the uncapped Seasonal Worker Programme, which has enabled more than 28,000 job opportunities for pacific workers in Australia since 2012.
Together, these measures will help farmers and regional communities get the workers they need, when they need them. Australia will continue to prioritize the Pacific to help fill jobs where Australian workers are not able to do so.
To support Australia’s deepening engagement with the pacific, the government will also establish a new office of the Pacific in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to enhance whole-of-government coordination.
The office of the pacific will have increased resourcing and will support our efforts to develop even closer ties to the Pacific Governments and regional Organisations, including the Pacific Islands Forum.
Other agencies including the Australian Federal Police, Defence, Department of Home Affairs and Attorney-General’s Department will be invited to Provide secondments to the office to help better coordinate our efforts to develop even closer ties across the region.