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Unpublished Paper
MA Thesis - MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT: THE DEVELOPMENT IMPACTS OF SHORT-TERM LABOUR MIGRATION OF NI-VANUATU WORKERS TO NEW ZEALAND
(2012)
  • Ronald R Kumar
Abstract
The New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme is a New Zealand Government initiative that officially commenced in 2007. In this programme, five developing Pacific Island countries (PICs), namely Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu – referred to as the kick start countries, participated in short-term labour migration. The objectives of this Scheme are at least two fold. Firstly, the scheme was initiated to address seasonal labour shortage in New Zealand and second, to give employment opportunity to selected PICs. Since 2007, the RSE Scheme has undergone significant changes primarily addressing issues and concerns that emerged along the way. The RSE initiative therefore, from the employers’ perspective was designed to provide a readily available and consistent pool of workers every season; from the migrants’ perspective, the scheme is considered an opportunity for employment and community development – particularly benefiting the migrants and their families with remittances utilised, inter alia, housing, education, small business, and the migrant communities as a result of migrant contribution to community work. This thesis sought to explore the development impacts of RSE, particularly the changes in the lives and livelihood for migrants as well as the expected gains to employers. The field research was carried out in the months of August and September, 2010. Epi Island in Vanuatu was selected as a case study for the field research. A few of the RSE employers in New Zealand who had recruited Ni-Vanuatu in the horticulture and viticulture industry were interviewed as well. The snow ball method was used to identify respondents in Vanuatu. Semi-structured interview questionnaires were used to collect information from the labour migrants (Ni-Vanuatu) and RSE employers. The field research spanned six weeks – one month in Vanuatu and 2 weeks in New Zealand. From the findings, it is clear that the RSE Scheme generally benefitted both the Ni-Vanuatu labourers and their employers. Although there are some issues that need to be addressed, overall, the scheme ensures that dual objectives of creating a win-win outcome are being met. The migrants interviewed reported benefits in terms of income (including sending remittances), new skill transfers, and greater productivity consciousness, improvement in education and housing and start-up of small businesses in the community. The employers have also realised productivity gains from migrants who participated in consecutive contracts, and have been assured a reliable and readily available pool of workers. The latter has heightened confidence in the horticulture and viticulture industry. However, in terms of ensuring sustainability of the scheme, it is recommended that greater inclusivity needs to be in place in the recruitment process. The recruitment process needs to include all people who are willing and able to participate in the scheme. Effective communication between stakeholders, that is, between host and home countries is needed. There is a need for greater emphasis in resolving some conflicting issues caused by migrants in their home country. It is also recommended that concerns raised by employers in relation to improving the RSE scheme and highlighting the significance of RSE scheme as employer-led demand-driven initiative are addressed. Other areas needing attention are migrant communities facing internal conflicts and unfair recruitment; returned migrants concerns regarding tax refunds and tax procedures, wage rates and accommodation costs. Also, it is essential that both the employers and the migrants understand each other’s culture and environment to maximise benefit from the scheme.
Keywords
  • Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme,
  • RSE,
  • Remittances,
  • Social Remittances,
  • New Zealand,
  • Epi Island,
  • Vanuatu,
  • Qualitative Study
Publication Date
September, 2012
Citation Information
Ronald R Kumar. "MA Thesis - MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT: THE DEVELOPMENT IMPACTS OF SHORT-TERM LABOUR MIGRATION OF NI-VANUATU WORKERS TO NEW ZEALAND" (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ronald_ravinesh_kumar/20/