Research spotlight

Are there only winners? Labour mobility for sustainable development in the Pacific

Yvonne Underhill-Sem, Evelyn Marsters, Richard Bedford, Vijay Naidu and Ward Friesen

New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research, 2019

The aim of this study is to provide a critical analysis of research and policy tools used for managing Pacific seasonal labour mobility and to assess the effects of specific policy initiatives within specific economic sectors, and countries, that are affected by labour mobility schemes. The study proposes a new framework for labour mobility—a “quadruple win-loss” (rather than “triple win”) that underpins most of the policy commentary. Read more …

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Australian government response to the joint standing committee on migration report: Seasonal change inquiry into the Seasonal Worker Programme

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02/2017

The Australian government welcomes the report by the joint standing committee on migration into the Seasonal Worker Programme. The government is committed to ensuring that the Seasonal Worker Programme delivers...

The Australian government welcomes the report by the joint standing committee on migration into the Seasonal Worker Programme. The government is committed to ensuring that the Seasonal Worker Programme delivers results for all stakeholders and continues to contribute to:
- the economic development of participating countries through the provision of employment experience, skills and knowledge transfer and workers being able to send money back to their home countries; and
- assisting Australian employers who are unable to source enough local Australian workers to meet their seasonal labour needs by providing access to a reliable workforce, able to return in future seasons.

Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme: Development impacts in the first two years

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06/2011

Australia launched the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme in August 2008. This program was designed to alleviate labour shortages for the Australian horticultural industry by providing opportunities for workers from...

Australia launched the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme in August 2008. This program was designed to alleviate labour shortages for the Australian horticultural industry by providing opportunities for workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu to undertake seasonal work. This paper presents an analysis of the development impacts of this program in the first two years, and compares them to those from New Zealand’s seasonal worker program in the same countries.

What difference does labour choice make to farm productivity and profitability in the Australian horticulture industry?

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02/2018

Labour shortages can challenge the profitability, economic contribution, and sustainability of agriculture industries. The Australian Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) was set up in 2012 in order to contribute to the...

Labour shortages can challenge the profitability, economic contribution, and sustainability of agriculture industries. The Australian Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) was set up in 2012 in order to contribute to the supply of low-skilled labour to Australian horticulture industries, where employers can’t meet their needs with local labour, whilst also advancing the economic development of Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste. While the SWP faces competition from other labour sources to meet labour demand in the horticulture industry, arrivals under the SWP have been increasing steadily since the program started. The World Bank commissioned ABARES to compare seasonal workers with working holiday makers in terms of their impacts on farm productivity and profitability. A previous small-scale ABARES study carried out in 2013 suggested that the productivity of seasonal workers was higher than working holiday makers. This report extends the 2013 study to include analysis of implications for profitability shedding light on the non-wage factors that influence growers’ decision-making about labour choices. These factors may affect growers’ decisions to join the SWP as a direct employer, or to engage seasonal workers through other arrangements, such as labour hire companies or contractors.