Labour mobility concerns in the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) raised by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation are being addressed, says the Pacific’s chief trade adviser Dr Edwini Kessie.
“Labour mobility is dealt with under the Arrangement on Labour Mobility and the Chapter on Temporary Movement of Natural Persons,” he said.
“The former essentially deals with opportunities for unskilled persons under Australia’s Seasonal Work Program and New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.
“The latter deals with semi-skilled and skilled occupations. Both Australia and New Zealand have undertaken commitments which should facilitate the movement of skilled and semi-skilled workers in the PACER Plus area.”
FCEF CEO Nesbitt Hazelman said last week that trade agreements involving Pacific Islands had to ensure opportunities for skilled labourers in Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Hazelman said while the current seasonal workers program gave jobs to unskilled workers from Fiji, it had to be extended to include skilled workers as well.
He said the Pacific should not be used to fill menial tasks in developed nations and PACER Plus should also ensure graduates and skilled workers had employment and further training opportunities made available in Australia and New Zealand.