The Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS) signals a new level of engagement between Australia and Pacific island countries and is of major significance for all participating countries. It embodies the ramping up of the globalisation of labour markets, communities and nations in the Pacific region and constitutes international people movement that inevitably will have a transformative impact on labour receiving and sending nations in terms of their social, political and economic structures. This article focuses on the demand side of this relationship, with emphasis on the newly established Australian PSWPS. The article raises questions concerning how, after an overview of New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and the Australian PSWPS, the advent of seasonal emigration from the Pacific will affect, and be affected by, existing employment and labour relations in the Australian horticultural sector. In this context, it examines information about undocumented workers in the Australian horticultural labour market and the degree they are impacting on the success of the pilot scheme. Finally, the article discusses the long-term viability of the pilot, based on a range of stakeholders' perspectives, and identifies some impediments to its expansion in its current form.
|Pacific Economic Bulletin
|Published - 2010