Vanuatu is the top sending country in the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. This is a scheme which allows Pacific workers to enter New Zealand temporarily to work in the horticulture and viticulture industries, which often suffer from a shortage of local workers.
Earlier this year Immigration New Zealand facilitated the departure of workers from New Zealand to help with the clean-up efforts in Vanuatu following cyclone Pam’s destruction and devastation.
Following the aftermath of the cyclone, many Vanuatu locals have signed up to be part of the seasonal workers scheme.
Immigration New Zealand RSE Relationship Manager Lafaele Lupo’s presentation at the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Conference in Port Villa this week revealed that Vanuatu contributes the most in the RSE scheme, with just over 3,400 local workers in the 2014/15 financial year.
“The RSE scheme has been very successful for Vanuatu.”
“With the significant growth of Vanuatu participants compared to any other Pacific sending country they must have done something right,” says Mr Lupo.
However, when it comes to health issues Vanuatu is also at the top of the list.
Issues such as problematic behaviour linked to alcohol, drink driving and health problems are common.
Despite such issues Mr Lupo defended the scheme stating that RSE has very low rates of overstaying.
“It is clear from the evidence that the RSE scheme is meeting the needs of New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture growers and that the number of overstayers and incidents in the scheme is very low.”
“It’s striking to note the highest number of RSE workers returning to New Zealand each season is from Vanuatu, which shows how highly their workers are valued.”
The success of the RSE scheme was endorsed by an RSE worker, Peter Bumseng from the island of Ambrym who has been a part of the scheme since its inception in 2007.
This is Mr Bumseng’s 10th season as a returning worker under the RSE scheme.