Pacific Workers Win Praise

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By Felix Chaudhary

Fijian workers employed under the seasonal worker scheme have been lauded by Australian farm owners as being some of the best and most efficient workers from the Pacific.

This was revealed during a workshop of non-state actors on Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER Plus in progress in Nadi.

While speaking on labour mobility, Dr Edwini Kessie, chief trade adviser at the Office of the Trade Adviser for Forum Island Countries, said Fiji was well-placed to benefit from the seasonal worker scheme.

“In fact, although Fiji has just joined, it already has a good reputation and it has been established in Australia that Fijian workers are very efficient,” he said.

“So what we could see is an increase in the number of workers from Fiji and this presents a lot of opportunities not only for Fiji but also to other Pacific Island countries.”

Dr Kessie added that apart from Fiji’s strong workforce, a decision by Australia to lift the cap on the number of workers it would accept from the Pacific from June this year meant that more employment opportunities were expected soon.

Fiji joined the seasonal worker scheme with Australia in April this year with the first workers departing our shores on May 30.

They are employed by “Plant Grow Pick” to cultivate and harvest table grapes in Emerald, Queensland.