Vanuatu’s seasonal workers: where are they from?
In July 2018, the Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA), in collaboration with the Vanuatu Department of Labour and Employment Services (ESU), undertook a demographic study of ni-Vanuatu workers in Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme (RSE). The rationale for the exercise was to determine which provinces, islands and villages are gaining access to these programs. The information collected will be used to determine future research on the impacts of labour mobility in Vanuatu. Our database sample contains information on workers’ age, gender, marital status, education, their agents or employers, the type of job, whether they are returnees, and other personal information, which will be the source for future publications. This type of data collection has the potential to assist future decisions on labour mobility policy and development outcome assessments. We recommend other Pacific island states consider undertaking such demographic research.
Of all participating countries, Vanuatu has the largest number of workers in Australia and New Zealand combined, with an estimated 7,000 participants in the RSE and SWP during the data collection period (June 2017 to June 2018). The data collected was limited in scope due to reliance on agents sending information to the ESU and working with a new database system that had only just been established (thanks to Erick Sakou from the ESU for working hard to provide the most up-to-date information at the time). As a result, there were only 2,992 workers on the database who had travelled to Australia and New Zealand between June 2017 and June 2018. In drawing conclusions, it should therefore be borne in mind that less than half the total number of workers across the two programs are reflected in the results of the study. However, the results remain useful for both DPA and the ESU.
For DPA, such …read more