564 Fijians Working Under Pacific Labour Scheme In Australia

Ministry preparing more workers for upcoming labour mobility programmes.
13 Feb 2021 16:12
564 Fijians Working Under Pacific Labour Scheme In Australia
Minister for Employment Parveen Bala on February 12, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A total of 564 Fijians are employed in meat works, hospital and accommodation and aged care sectors under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) in Australia.

This was revealed in Parliament this week by the Minister for Employment, Parveen Bala.

In addition to the number of Fijians employed under the scheme, the ministry is preparing more workers for other upcoming labour mobility programmes.

Fiji’s participation under the scheme was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, as part of the Fiji-Australia Vuvale and Partnership Agreement.

Another 88 Fijians are expected to leave next month; 70 are expected to be engaged under the Australian Seasonal Work Programme, who will also leave next month. Seventy-one seasonal workers are expected to leave on February 18.

“As we are all aware of the high demand from Australia for Fijian meat workers under the Pacific Labour Scheme and following a number of concerns from our local industry, my ministry’s staff are finding ways to pluck the gap left by some of our experienced workers who went to work under the PLS,” Mr Bala said.

“This resulted in an Expression of Interest for basic meat works and other short courses. That was advertised late last year as part of my ministry’s commitment to re-skilling and up-skilling some of our workers affected by COVID-19.

“In trying to address the needs of our local meat industry, my ministry partnered with the National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) and Fiji National University (FNU) and have conducted two training sessions in this regard.”

Mr Bala said dialogue was ongoing with other employers to employ Fijians in other sectors.

He also said NTPC was working with the meat industry’s stakeholders including the Fiji Meat Industry Board on the use of some of their existing facilities and resources for the practical aspect of the basic training in the meat industry.

“At times when our local industries are facing some challenges, our labour mobility programme is a great opportunity for all Fijians to work together and support this pathway, to enhancing local skills upon these workers returning home and supporting our Fijian economy through remittance,” the minister said.

He also clarified that workers employed under the scheme do not make contributions to the Fiji National Provident Fund.




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