• NOTICE: TO ALL BUSINESS HOUSES-PUBLIC HOLIDAY DIRECTIVE

    NOTICE: TO ALL BUSINESS HOUSES-PUBLIC HOLIDAY DIRECTIVE

    Further to the official declaration of Public Holiday by H.E OBED MOSES TALLIS TEMAR NE WERE,the Honrouble Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs and Employment Affairs Across the country has instructed that all business house to be closed to commemorate the 40s years Anniversary Celebration from 23rd to 29th July 2020.

    READ MORE HERE
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options

    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

    The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours per week) and with no limit on roles that they can do. The workers will need to have an employment agreement with an RSE employer, who will need to continue to honour commitments under the RSE scheme. Any additional time an RSE worker spends in New Zealand will not count towards the time they would ordinarily have to spend overseas before they can return for seasonal work.

    Each year up to 14,400 workers, mainly from Pacific Island nations, arrive in New Zealand to fill seasonal labour shortages in the horticulture and viticulture industries.

    Read More
  • Changes to RSE respond to COVID-19

    As part of the Government’s COVID-19 response, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has established a process for RSE visa holders to move to other RSE employers who have an Agreement to Recruit (ATR) if their existing employment is coming to an end. However, as the demand for seasonal workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries reduces over the winter months, there is not enough work available to support all the RSE visa holders still in New Zealand while they await repatriation flights. This has been identified as a problem that is leading to an increase of behavioural incidents and concerns around the welfare of workers.

    It is fair to say at this time, many RSE workers are desperate to return home.

    In response, the Minister of Immigration has decided to grant a Special Direction, issuing new, more flexible limited visas to RSE workers without work.

    This is a short-term, time-limited measure to allow flexibility for RSE visa holders who are without work while RSE workers await flights to return home.

    Changes enabling more flexible visas: • Reducing the minimum hours employers are required to offer workers from 30hrs to 15hrs (in recognition that some RSE employers have some work available but under current policy couldn’t offer further work unless they could meet the 30hr requirement). • RSE workers will be able to undertake more roles in horticulture and viticulture, beyond picking, pruning and packing. • Subject to worker agreement, RSE workers will now have the ability to work in other sectors outside horticulture and viticulture. RSE employers will be able to contract these workers into other sectors but to safeguard workers, RSE employers must maintain the employment arrangement and pastoral care responsibilities. The pastoral care must continue to meet the standards required under the RSE scheme (as confirmed by the Labour Inspectorate).

    In order to be granted visas (at no cost to the worker or employer), the RSE employer will need to get any employment approved by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to ensure any work does not displace New Zealanders, undertake to continue honour RSE commitments to workers, and work collaboratively with all parties to repatriate workers as early as possible.

    Changes to ensure workers and employers are not disadvantaged by COVID-19 disruptions:

    • A time-limited policy change to remove the stand down period. This change specifies that the period a RSE worker is stranded in New Zealand due to COVID-19 disruption will not be taken into account when calculating the earliest date they can be granted a visa for the upcoming season. Whether the worker will be able to enter New Zealand will depend on border restrictions at the time.

    All of these changes are time-bound and the focus remains to repatriate workers as soon as possible. The Pacific Migration team, including the RSE Relationship Managers- Tony and Oiko, will be supporting RSE employers to understand these changes and utilise the opportunities this flexibility provides.

    RSE cap decision and return of workers to New Zealand

    COVID-19 has added significant uncertainty to New Zealand industry’s workforce planning for 20/21, as well as uncertainty for Pacific workers and your labour sending units. The impact of border restrictions and New Zealand’s changing labour market has exacerbated the challenge of predicting New Zealand’s labour needs for the coming season.

    To provide as much certainty as possible, the Minister has announced today that the RSE cap (maximum number of RSE workers allowed to come to New Zealand in a 12 month period) will be held at the same level, 14,400 workers, for the next season. This decision does not change the fact that the New Zealand border currently remains closed to all migrants that are not New Zealand citizens, residents or those who meet the limited exception requirements. Currently, RSE workers Arrival of any new RSE workers for the 2020/21 season will not occur unless there are changes to the current border restrictions.

    You can find more information on the Immigration New Zealand website: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/recognised-seasonal-employers-rse-covid-19-information

  • New Official Gazette

    New Official Gazette

    The Department of Labour and Employment Services wishes to proceed to a sound, effective, efficient and transparent consultation with the member of the public across Vanuatu on the proposed changes it wishes to introduce through the legal notice published in the official gazette dated 24th June 2020 which provides the proposed changes on the list of reserved occupations notice n°67 of 2020 signed by the Hon. Alatoi Ishmael KALSAKAU, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs. We invite all members of the public including Private Stakeholders, Government Stakeholders, NGO’s and the members of Tripartite Body to provide their observations, critics and constructive comments on which position they think it should be added in the new reserved occupations list. This consultation exercise will be carried out for a period of 6 months effective from 24th June 2020, the date it is gazetted. All your comments can be directed to the following link: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We thank you in advance for your collaboration and partnership in undertaking this consultation exercise.

    Download and Read More
  • First phase of repatriation complete

    First phase of repatriation complete

    Flights bringing in seasonal workers from New Zealand and stranded citizens and residents from Australia today are expected to be the final repatriation flights for the first phase.

    There will be no repatriation flights until after July, Director of Foreign Affairs, Yvon Basil said.

    A total of 1, 049 workers for the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme in NZ are expected to be repatriated on the eight additional flights being operated by the Royal NZ Air Force since last Friday, said Director Basil. The last RSE repatriation flight is confirmed for today with the second flight from Australia bringing stranded citizens and residents.

    The first flight from Australia was expected yesterday. Around 200 individuals will return on these two flights operated by Nauru Airlines.

    The cost of the RSE repatriation flights are funded by the New Zealand Government, according to the Director of Public Health and Spokesperson for COVID-19 matters, Len Tarivonda.

    “The government of New Caledonia (NC) will also assist with the cost of the repatriation flight expected from NC yesterday,” he added.

    “Organizers of the chartered flight that brought back over 100 cruise ship workers are also meeting the cost the flight.

    “These cruise ship workers will be released from quarantine today. The repatriates from Fiji will be released at the end of this week.”

    All repatriates will undergo 14-days quarantine once they arrive in Port Vila.

    23 June 2020
  • Phase 1 Repatriation

    Phase 1 Repatriation

    A final New Zealand Defence Force flight will touch down in Port Vila late this morning carrying the last group of ni-Vanuatu RSE workers to be repatriated as part of the current effort.

    The Governments of New Zealand and Vanuatu have worked with employers in New Zealand to bring home more than 1000 RSE workers over the last five days.

    Preventing the spread of COVID to Vanuatu remains a key priority for both our Governments, and we are all working to ensure Vanuatu’s entry requirements are met. All workers underwent a health pre-screening before boarding their flight.

    Welcome home!

    Below is a photo of Ni Vanuatu boarding the NZDF Boeing this morning and another showing the Boeing taking off bound for Vanuatu.

    23/06/2020
  • COVID-19 UPDATES 2020

    COVID-19 UPDATES 2020

    On 26 March 2020 the President of Vanuatu signed a declaration for a State of Emergency (SOE) over the whole of Vanuatu for a two-week period, for the purposes of strengthening prevention and containment measures in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Non-health information related to the SOE is available on the website of the National Disaster Management Office.

    As of 01 April 2020, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Vanuatu. The situation can change rapidly. This Ministry of Health website includes the latest health information and updates:

  • Know & Do
  • Questions and Answers Updated
  • State of Emergency
  • Situation Reports Updated
  • Press Releases Updated
  • Awareness Material Updated
  • Forms
  • Other Sources
  • More Information If you cannot find the information you need on this website, please:
  • Visit MOH Zero-data Landing Page
  • Visit MOH Health Promotions Facebook Page
  • Visit the NDMO Website
  • Visit WHO COVID-19 Outbreak Webpage
  • Email COVID-19 Health Emergency Operations Centre: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Call COVID-19 Information Hotline: 119
  • 3 April 2020 10:20AM
  • PACIFIC LABOUR MOBILITY

    PACIFIC LABOUR MOBILITY

    An Australian Government initiative that connects workers with rural and regional Australian businesses and supports the economic prosperity of nine Pacific islands and Timor-Leste.

    Coronavirus: Health and travel advice

    Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. To protect yourself against infection, you should wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid close contact with others.

    People who have coronavirus may have a fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath. If you think you have the virus, first call your doctor or a medical clinic.

    For the latest government health advice, please visit the Department of Health coronavirus web page, or for the latest travel advice, visit the Smartraveller website.

    WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

    For more information, advice and resources about COVID-19 for Pacific labour mobility employers and workers, please visit our Pacific labour mobility coronavirus page.

    Visit Pacific Labour Mobility Facebook Page at Pacific labour mobility
    3 April 2020, 10:20AM

Guidance for SWP Approved Employers

 Guidance for SWP Approved Employers

Transfer of SWP workers from a Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International Relations)) visa to a Bridging visa E

As previously advised through the Approved Employer communique on 25 March 2020, seasonal workers whose visas are expiring and who cannot return home due to border closures can apply for a Bridging Visa E (Subclass (050)) online via ImmiAccount - immi.homeaffairs.gov.au

Please note:

a. this visa can only be applied for once the worker’s current substantive visa has expired and should be made as soon as possible following the expiry of their current visa;

b. an 8503 waiver is not required to apply for this visa; and

c. This bridging visa includes work rights, but is not tied to a sponsor.

If you have any questions or you would like to bring specific cases to the Department of Home Affairs attention please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

IMPORTANT: To enable the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the Department) to keep across the workers who are being placed on Bridging Visas, please ensure you complete an incident report in SWP Online and use the incident type “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Bridging Visa”, including the relevant Recruitment Plan number and the name(s) of the worker(s).

Notice of direction: The definition of a Seasonal Worker under the Deed refers to the worker being granted a Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International relations)) visa. On 4 April 2020, the Government announced temporary changes to visa arrangements that would allow Pacific workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) to continue working in the agriculture sector until the coronavirus crisis has passed. The new visa arrangements will enable the workers to remain in Australia and continue working for up to 12 months, with the current protections under the SWP.

As part of the ongoing work we are undertaking in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on the program, we are issuing a Notice of direction to Approved Employers. The Notice of direction is to direct Approved Employers to continue to perform their obligations under the Deed in relation to any workers who is issued with a different visa other than the subclass 403.

To ensure that the SWP continues to operate smoothly for both Approved Employers and seasonal workers, we have developed the below guidance for your information:

• Matching supply with demand

• Labour Market Testing

• SWP Online Process

• Your obligations and other important matters

 Matching supply with demand

3. Where an Approved Employer does not have ongoing work available for their seasonal workers who are on a Bridging visa, and subject to the seasonal worker agreeing to undertaking the work, the Department will assist in redeploying workers to where there is work available, taking into consideration State and Territory border requirements.

4. The Department has already started contacting those Approved Employers who have approved placements that are due to finish soon. However, should you wish to discuss your individual requirements, whether you currently have workers in Australia or not, please send a message through SWP Online or contact your Contract Manager.

Labour Market Testing

5. Given the large number of Australians who have lost their jobs, labour market testing will continue to remain a key requirement of the program, except in extreme exceptional circumstances, which will be handled on a case by case basis.

  1. For the SWP Regional Pilot, labour market testing will come into effect from 1 May 2020, as per current advice.

SWP Online Process

The table below provides a snapshot of the action Approved Employers will need to take in each scenario:

  Scenario Action
1. New recruitment for workers on Bridging visa New Recruitment Application
2. Movement to a new Approved Employer on Bridging visa New Recruitment Application
3. Movement to a new Approved Employer on (403) current visa

• TAS transfer document needs to be provided to the department by the new Approved Employer.

• Variation Application – where workers are moving to an existing recruitment.

• New Recruitment Application – where workers are moving to a new recruitment.

4. Movement of workers on current (403) visa within the state or interstate where the LMT covered the location being moved to. Variation
5. Movement of workers on current (403) visa within the state or interstate where the LMT did not cover the location being moved to. New Recruitment Application
6. Recruitment Application was approved but the workers did not arrive in Australia due to the travel ban. Variation – where the change is only to dates.
7. Recruitment Application was not approved and put on hold because of the travel ban. Approval process subject to normal requirements.

Please note: Approved Employers will be asked to report if the movement/transfer is for the purposes of filling labour shortages due to COVID-19. This will help the Government understand the nature of workforce shortages as a result of this pandemic (within the SWP).

6. All Approved Employers who wish to employ new SWP workers who are now on a Bridging visa in Australia, must complete a new Recruitment Application in SWP Online as per the current process.

  1. All movements will be subject to the Recruitment Application being approved in full, including Accommodation and Welfare and Wellbeing Plans.

7. Approved Employers will need to submit an Arrival and/or a Departure Report, as applicable, once the workers have transferred over to the new recruitment, including for SWP Regional Pilot recruitments. Both reports will need to identify that these workers have transferred and are not new workers into the country. The new fields in reports are:

a. Transferred workers – this is where Approved Employers will identify if the workers in this group transferred to another recruitment.

b. Transferred Recruitment – if the transfer has occurred to another recruitment within your entity you will need to identify that recruitment number.

c. Employer Transfer – this is where Approved Employers can identify if the transfer is to another Approved Employer.

8. For current Approved Recruitment that will have workers transferred to another Recruitment, please send a message to your Contract Manager to advise this so the department can activate this on the recruitment.

Your obligations and other important matters

9. Approved Employers who employ seasonal workers who have been transferred on to a Bridging visa will continue to have the same responsibilities and obligations towards the workers.

10. Any return airfare credits or refunds resulting from a cancellation of flights must go to the worker. The new Approved Employer will be responsible to rebook the return flight. Domestic airfare/travel to new location deductions must be fair and as per current rules.

a. As best practice, the new Approved Employer must pay for transportation of workers when they move between Approved Employers, and not deduct from the workers’ wages.

11. Superannuation – Choice of superannuation is up the worker. Approved Employers should ensure each worker knows their Tax File Number and superannuation fund name and number so that they can fill in these details on the superannuation form of their choice with the new Approved Employer.

12. Health insurance – Approved Employers are encouraged to continue the same health insurance provider for the workers if possible. This is so that workers are not disadvantaged due to waiting periods restarting and that deductions do not vary greatly with each provider.

13. Bank account – Same bank account should be used if possible, to minimise disruption.

14. If there is a change of circumstances (e.g. a worker on a Bridging Visa wishes to return home once the travel restrictions have eased) please complete an incident report in SWP Online.

15. Record keeping – In addition to the record keeping requirements in the SWP Guidelines, Approved Employers should retain records of the movement of their seasonal workers and provide them to the Department and to the Fair Work Ombudsman if requested.

16. To minimise any disruption that may be caused when workers are moved to a new Approved Employer, the Department will play an active role, including informing the relevant Liaison Officers or Labour Sending Units, by email. The Department appreciates in advance the cooperation of Approved Employers to ensure a smooth transition.