Solomon Islands workers employed under Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme are reminded to understand the labour laws of Australia and most importantly their contracts.
This message was re-emphasised during a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele and Solomon Islands PALM workers last month in Brisbane and Adelaide.
Both meetings were opportunities for all parties to discuss the benefits of the scheme, challenges faced and to remind the workers of the need to respect the laws of Australia as host country.
With the number of workers expected to increase following the current Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) Work Pool recruitment drive which will end on 10th March and the ongoing mobilization of people from the work ready pool, the need for Solomon Islanders to be reminded of the need to stick to the clauses of their contract is critically important.
The Labour Mobility Program is one of the key policy priorities of the DCGA government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs External Trade and is aimed at addressing the high unemployment rate in the country.
Apart from employment, the scheme has given boost to the local economy with almost SB$200m in remittance received as reported by CBSI. This is one of the benefits of the program for the Solomon Islands economy.
Therefore, the government insists it will continue to support the program and work towards increasing our numbers under the PALM in Australia and RSE in New Zealand.
But as the number increase, so does the report of people breaching their contract and absconding from their employers.
While frustrations are bound to happen, workers are reminded of the importance of dialogue with their employers, and to seek help and assistance from Solomon Islands Country Liaison Officers based in Australia if they have issues and complaints.
Workers are also reminded of the government’s official points of contacts in Australia to assist them, which are the Solomon Islands High Commission in Canberra and the Brisbane Consulate Office.
At the end of January 2023, Solomon Islands has mobilized 4484 workers to Australia alone. 2364 workers are working in Queensland. This is 52% of the total number of workers working in Australia.
From the total number of workers in Queensland, 1715 are working under the PLS and 649 under the SWP. In terms of Gender break down, there are 1948 males whilst 416 are females.
The Solomon Islands acknowledges the Government of Australia for providing such opportunity for Solomon Islanders to work in Australia under the program, which is a win-win for the economies of Australia and Solomon Islands as well as for the workers themselves.
—MFAET PRESS RELEASE.