23 April 2009

Samoan PM checks up on temporary New Zealand visa scheme for Islanders

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The temporary New Zealand visa scheme for Pacific Islanders, known as the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, has brought Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielagaoi on an educational visit, reports Hawkes Bay Today.

This specific temporary New Zealand visa scheme allowed 8,000 Pacific Island workers to temporarily harvest fruit in the New Zealand countryside this year, so that labour shortages in the horticultural industry could be plugged.

As the RSE scheme does not run year-round, Pacific Islanders return home with their remittances and inject cash into their own economy.

"The key benefit is the ability to harvest fruit in premium condition within a very narrow window of time," Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven said.

"This is shared by all in the industry, generating higher export returns for New Zealand in the process."

Mr Malielagaoi said the temporary New Zealand visa scheme for Samoans was a great way to improve the Samoan economy, while also contributing to the economy of New Zealand and New Zealand's horticultural industry.

"The benefit of the scheme is its shortness and being able to earn more than they ever could in Samoa and then join up with their families and to do things like build houses or renovate houses."

The Immigration Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said that while he is working hard to protect New Zealand jobs for New Zealand workers, he is confident that there would always be thousands of jobs for Pacific Islanders helping with the seasonal harvests.

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