Samoa

Pandemic presents big challenges for Pacific seasonal workers

New Zealand has a new one-way travel bubble with Pacific island countries such as Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Vaccinated RSE workers from these countries can come to New Zealand without self-isolating or taking Covid-19 tests on arrival, after the one-way quarantine-free travel took effect last week.

Up to 5,000 workers are needed across the horticulture and viticulture industries during peak summer season in December and January.

The usual supply of backpackers to New Zealand's recognised seasonal workers scheme remains cut off due to Covid-19 border restrictions.

National 7s competitions resume in Samoa and Fiji

Samoa's National Sevens Series kicked off this morning at Marist St Joseph's Stadium in Lotopa.

There are 24 men's teams and four women's teams competing.

The men will each play two games today, with the eight pool winners advancing to the Cup quarter-finals.

The women's teams will join the competition tomorrow and play three games each in a round-robin format, before the men's semis and finals.

Meanwhile, the fourth leg of Fiji's Super Sevens Series has kicked off in Suva.

Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.

Bookings trickle in for quarantine-free flights from Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Vanuatu

One-way travel with low-risk Pacific countries resumes on November 8 from the three islands and Tokelau, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced last week.

Travellers from those nations will be able to bypass spending 14 days at a managed isolation and quarantine facility.

All travellers, New Zealand citizens, and NZ resident or visa critical purpose visa holders, would need to have stayed 14 days in their countries before departure and aren’t required to provide a pre-departure test.

They must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens.

New Zealand expands one-way quarantine-free travel with Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tokelau

The change will see travellers from those countries and Tokelau who have the right to reside permanently in New Zealand and people covered by border exceptions, from 8 November.

“Travellers must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens. RSE workers are currently required to have at least one dose, and will be required to be fully vaccinated from 1 January 2022,” said Covid-19 response Minister Chris Hipkins today.

Pacific exporters explore market opportunities in Japan

This was underscored during a recent virtual Japan Market Brief for exporters and stakeholders in the Pacific and facilitated by the Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus).

The Brief was attended by PHAMA Plus partners and stakeholders from industry working groups, government agencies and business associations.  It provided insight into doing business in Japan, market opportunities, market access information and service offering for interested exporters.

New Zealand confirms dates for One-way Quarantine Free Travel dates for RSE Scheme

“We’re pleased to announce that RSE workers from Vanuatu can begin arriving into New Zealand from 4 October, with Samoan and Tongan workers arriving from 12 October,” Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said.

“This will provide much needed certainty for our growers as they gear up for summer and autumn harvesting.”

One-way quarantine-free travel for Samoa, Tonga,Vanuatu RSE workers to start in October

The change was announced by, New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“We want to provide certainty to the horticulture industry that we are moving forward with safe quarantine-free travel for RSE workers in time for the upcoming picking season,” Damien O’Connor said.

Sending money home to the Pacific more often

In July 2021, ANZ customers in Australia and New Zealand sent 11,668 International Money Transfers to family and friends in the Pacific, worth AUD$ $13.1m (US$9.6 million), a 21 percent increase in volume when compared to the same period last year.

“In the Pacific, international money transfers - also known as remittances - are about more than money: they are about family, safety, culture, and community,” ANZ Regional Executive, Pacific, Tessa Price said.

Ardern announces RSE workers allowed one-way quarantine-free travel

In a post-Cabinet media briefing Monday afternoon, Ardern announced Cabinet had made the decision to allow Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from those countries to travel one way, without using MIQ.

The countries this would apply to reflected the fact all three nations had experienced very few cases of Covid-19, she said. Tonga had seen zero Covid-91 cases, Samoa just one, and Vanuatu had four - all those cases having been at the border with no community transmission.