Samoa’s acting Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio s expressed concern at Australia offering up to 3000 visas for Pacific migrants. Photo: RNZ/Anusha Bradley/23012201
Samoa’s acting Prime Minister has expressed concern at Australia offering up to 3000 visas for Pacific migrants, saying it will further drain Samoa's already strained labour workforce.
comes as the government tries to find out how a group of workers were able to
depart for New Zealand for seasonal work, despite the temporary ban on the
regional seasonal employer scheme.
Iosefo Ponifasio told the Parliament in Apia that the Australian Government
made the announcement on new visas without consulting the Samoan Government.
said this would hurt the Samoan labour workforce and lead to the loss of more
skilled workers and their families to Australia permanently.
3000 visas would be allocated annually through a ballot process across Pacific
countries and Timor Leste.
selected from the ballot will be invited to apply for permanent residence and
the new Pacific Engagement visa (PEV) will start in July to boost permanent
Pacific migration to Australia.
has been no communications with our Government on this. They will start by
taking our workers for three years and I believe they will not return,” said
said they would take workers in the tourism and hospitality industries plus
teachers and police officers.
said Cabinet had to stand firm and ensure it is properly prepared to deal with
is envisaged that the programme will benefit participating countries through
increased remittances, opportunities for skills and knowledge transfer, the
provision of a new migration pathway, and enhanced people-to-people links.
revealed that the PEV will be broadly modelled on New Zealand's Pacific Access
Category (PAC) Resident visa which has been available since 2002.