30 Jun 2006

Pacific countries encouraged to have internal mobility

1:06 pm on 30 June 2006

Pacific Islands countries are being urged to consider establishing labour schemes among themselves, even as they push for greater access to New Zealand and Australia.

A number of authorities on the Pacific labour market have been presenting papers at a Wellington conference over the past two days.

A sociologist from the University of the South Pacific, Carmen Voigt Graf, is an advocate for the benefits of well managed and regulated schemes for the temporary movement of labour.

And she says the island countries should also look at the transfer of workers among themselves.

Dr Voigt Graf says, for instance, the current teacher shortage in the Cook Islands could be overcome by bringing in unemployed teachers from Vanuatu and Fiji.

"It would be an ideal scenario to have more movement within the region at the same time or even before there is more movement outside the region because there are opportunities, especially in the Polynesian countries, both in the skilled and unskilled areas."