Pacific wants extended labour mobility

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Pacific countries are hoping Australia and New Zealand will significantly broaden their views on labour mobility in the region.

The Chief Trade Advisor to the Pacific Island countries, Dr Edwini Kessie, says they hope to conclude the PACER PLUS trade deal with Australia and New Zealand by the end of next year but labour mobility is a continuing issue.

Dr Kessie says the island countries want seasonal employment schemes to be broadened to include skilled workers.

“Australia has already extended their scheme to accommodation, agriculture, cane and cotton by very limited numbers, so the Pacific Island countries would like to see the numbers increase in those new sectors, but most of the Pacific Island countries, they do have an interest in healthcare as well as mining.”

Edwini Kessie says the island countries would also like visas to be extended beyond the typical six months that now applies.