23 Feb 2015

Australia amends Pacific job programme

2:13 pm on 23 February 2015

The Australian government has eased the way for Pacific seasonal workers seeking jobs in the horticultural sector.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

It has removed the cap on places available within the horticultural sector and trial components of its Pacific Seasonal Worker Programme.

The existing 12,000 cap on places on the programme remains.

Australia's Employment Minister Eric Abetz says the government made the change after listening to concerns from the community.

He says the scheme remains demand-driven and employers must exhaust the local job market before recruiting foreign seasonal workers.

A recent World Bank report found the scheme needs significant changes if Pacific Islanders are to compete with backpackers for work on farms and orchards.