Workers from the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu are among those keen to take on harvest jobs in Australia under the Seasonal Workers Program (SWP).
Tuvalu, a collection of low-lying atolls and coral reefs north of Fiji and Samoa, with a population of just over 11,000, has been hard hit by both climate change and the Global Financial Crisis, with many people previously employed in the seafaring industry forced to seek scarce jobs in infrastructure or construction or take up working opportunities overseas.
Tuvalu already sends around 80 workers a year to New Zealand, where it has been part of the Recognised Seasonal Employers Scheme (RSE) for over a decade. Employers of return workers include apple growers Mr Apple and Taylor Corporation, capsicum grower Southern Paprika and Riverland Berries.
Sheryl Lewis, Human Resources Manager of Southern Paprika said the company brought the Tuvaluan workers back each year due to their good attendance and willingness to work.
“We’ve had four Tuvaluan workers for the past seven seasons,” she said. “We continue to bring them back each season as we have never had any issues with attendance and performance. They work well in our pack house team, working late nights and offering to work on weekends to get the job done.”
Tuvalu joined the Australian SWP in 2013 and is working with the Federal Government to match a small pool of keen, physically fit workers eager to work in Australia with Australian farmers looking for harvest labour.
Under the SWP, workers from Tuvalu can come to Australia for up to nine months in any 12-month period.
In support of this, the Australian Government is keen to work with interested employers to facilitate their engagement with Tuvalu and the recruitment and selection of Tuvaluan workers.
Farmers interested in recruiting seasonal workers from Tuvalu can contact Ms Meafou Brian, Labour Officer, Department of Labour, Tuvalu. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +688 20 117