Cabinet endorses resuming of RSE scheme

Cabinet has resumed sending off workers to the Recognized Seasonal Employment scheme.
This was confirmed by Acting Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio.
“Cabinet has [..] endorsed the continuation of the regional seasonal workers’ program from February 2023, in the following arrangement, for February, the RSE program will resume under the existing arrangement with MCIL and employers sending over 1200 workers to NZ and Australia; from March, the Village councils in collaboration with District Councils will determine the selection of participants to this program, in partnership and with the usual coordination of the MCIL; and from April 2023 – all seasonal workers program will be subjected to the terms and conditions set out under the New Samoa National Regional Seasonal Workers’ Program Policy.
According to Tuala, considered a number of submissions as usual. Some of the major policy matters discussed by Cabinet include the following.
“As previously mentioned, Cabinet suspended the continuation of the Seasonal Workers Program for January 2023, while the Special Sub-Cabinet Committee was finalising the National Policy for the Seasonal Workers Program. I am glad to report that this Policy has been tabled with Cabinet this week.
“In this Policy, Government considers the sustainability, the management and coordination of the program, with regards to ensuring the development of Samoa, especially at our local district and village levels and the need for this program to continue.
“Hence, the Policy is addressing key areas which were of major concern over the years, such as the criteria for the selection of unskilled workers for the schemes, their terms of employment including working conditions and period of overseas employment, as well as the strict observation of social, cultural and moral values. The Policy will enable the village councils to be directly involved in the scheme with the District councils, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour.
“Further, the Policy continues to strengthen our bilateral relations with the respective Governments offering these opportunities for our people.
“The seasonal worker programmes continue to be a significant development mechanism for our people and our country.
“However, challenges and shortfalls identified over time need addressing in light also of the mass migration of our people to New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa and perhaps to other countries in the future. “The Policy now with Cabinet is providing sustainable measures to address, minimize and alleviate long-term effects that this Program might pose on the development of Samoa.
“Manage risk areas for our people and ways to improve industries for our partners NZ and Australia.”

This week, Cabinet confirmed the suspension of Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labor Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour – Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, and the Acting Assistant CEO of the Labour Employment Export Programme (LEEP) Division – Tofilau Matthew Alesana.

This decision has been made to allow the Public Service Commission to
conduct an investigation into the Division of the MCIL that leads and coordinates Samoa’s Labour Employment Export Programme.