14 Dec 2015

Pacific to benefit from increase to NZ worker scheme

4:29 pm on 14 December 2015

Pacific Island workers are set to benefit from an increase in New Zealand's cap on its seasonal workers scheme.

Immigration authorities have announced 500 more seasonal workers will be allowed in for the 2015 to 2016 season.

Most of the workers allowed in to work under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme are from the Pacific Islands and the intake has been boosted to 9,500 workers.

Under the programme workers are recruited from several Pacific island countries to work in horticulture and viticulture.

The scheme started in 2007 with workers arriving from Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Workers from Fiji have been allowed in since 2014.

The horticulture and viticulture industry is New Zealand's fourth largest export industry and aims to increase exports to $10 billion by 2020.

The government says seasonal workers from the Pacific are an important part of a sector that employs around 50,000 people across New Zealand.

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