Monday, May 29, 2006
Fiji farm workers in Australia
One of the few examples of temporary work visas to Australia is through the tobacco industry. Groups of Fiji people come to places like Myrtleford to pick tobacco and then return to Fiji after four months. This is a successful project so far.
However there are hundreds of fruitgrowers in Australia that really want Pacific workers for grapes, oranges, soft fruits etc. Unfortunately the immigration system does not encourage, in fact refuses these farmers, access to labourers from the Pacific for short term work. The subject has been raised time and time again and the Australian government does not like the idea of bringing in many unskilled labourers from the South Pacific but only encourage skilled migration. This is a great pity.
The money raised by Fiji people overseas is usually sent back to Fiji and totals millions of dollars - military, rugby, other sports, security, and other jobs. Those who migrate also send money back. These remittances are worth more than even Fiji tourism!
in Fijilive today:
According to the Anarkismo newspaper farmers in Australia demands for Fiji farmers far exceed all other countries.
A middle man for the British American Tobacco Company who employs 10 Fijian farmers says that Fijians are very reliable and is very disappointed that the farmers have to fly home after every 4 months due to their contract.
According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Multi-Cultural Affairs, Australian farmers are pushing for easier and more accessible entry for Fiji farmers to Australia.
A survey conducted showed that the flow of temporary workers to Australia has tripled in a decade, taking in 50,000 skilled foreigners annually.
Meanwhile a report also showed that Fiji citizens working overseas send home more than $262 million more than what the Tourism Industry in Fiji earn.