FIJI NEWS

MSG scheme now in force opens up job opportunities

Source: MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) has come into force. The MSG countries of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have
04 Oct 2012 09:52

Source: MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) has come into force.
The MSG countries of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have now started with the implementation which was made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by their leaders.
It came under the chairmanship of Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
The MOU provides the framework for facilitating the movement of skilled MSG workers for temporary employment in MSG countries.
In announcing the commencement, the director general of the MSG Secretariat, Peter Forau stressed that the MSG region needs to play a leading role to pave the way for newer opportunities in the services sector to complement its trade in Goods Agreement for the growing MSG population.  He indicated that combined, Melanesia have a total population of almost 9 million people or over 90 percent of the Pacific’s total population and this is often an untapped resource in Melanesia.
“This scheme will also bring added benefits apart from remittances by providing a platform to develop qualifications, standards, mutual recognition arrangements and accreditation arrangements and focus on training opportunities that will prepare the MSG members to tap into the wider international labour market where there are more relatively lucrative opportunities” Mr Forau said.
The scheme was developed in response to requests by MSG members. Vanuatu and Solomon Islands have earlier engaged in a bilateral arrangement in 2010 when Vanuatu recruited nurses from Solomon Islands to work in its health care facilities due to shortages of nurses.
This arrangement has proven beneficial for both Vanuatu in accessing skilled nurses as well as for Solomon Islands in terms of employment opportunities and remittances sent back home. The MOU is based on an agreed list of specific occupations where each member offers for access to other parties to the MOU.
This scheme is open to those listed in each member’s schedule and most of these occupations are skilled professions such as engineers, accountants, pilots, doctors and nurses as well as trade skills and vocational teachers. Each member country has its own list of occupations that is based on its identified shortages and the scheme is capped at a quota of 400.
Mr Forau stressed that this scheme does not intend to open up the unskilled employment sector to outside parties rather is designed to help fill skill shortages in each member country where there is a demand by offering preferential treatment to access employment opportunities.
Access to employment under this scheme is based on employment offers or contracts from receiving employers in any countries that is party to the MOU. This means nationals of the MSG countries seeking employment in other MSG countries will only travel to the other party to take up employment on the basis of a job offer or employment contract.
Further details on accessing employment under the scheme will be published on the MSG website and MSG countries Labour/Immigration website in the coming weeks.




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