For Junior Amos Damiri, the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme provided the opportunity to get his married life in Solomon Islands off to the right start.
Working for Queensland Berries in Caboolture, Queensland, Mr Damiri was able to use his savings to buy a vehicle to start a business, and planned to put some of the money he earned in a second stint working at the farm towards building a home.
"This is my second time here in Australia. My first time when I came here to Australia was in 2019 and when I went back to Solomon Islands, I bought one car and we are just starting a small business," he said.
"Now I want to go back and build a house so that when I get married, we will have a house too."
Queensland Berries is Australia’s largest privately owned commercial berry enterprise, with 15 hectares of tunnels of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries north of Brisbane.
Joe Rilifia, also from Solomon Islands, has gained leadership experience while working at the farm.
“First, I was cutting blackberries and now they chose me as a supervisor, so I lead a small group,” he said.
"I learn a lot of different types of jobs on this farm and here is very nice."
James Aubrey says the money he sends back to Solomon Islands would not only help his family, but also the country’s economy.
“Coming to work here on the farm is really good because you can earn more money to help your family and also, we can build our country’s economy too,” he said.
Queensland Berries Director Richard McGruddy said the Solomon Island workers had proved essential to the running of the business.
"They’ve come with a huge range of skills, from carpenters to concreters to plumbers," he said.
"There was a lot of jobs we needed to do, not just harvest, but a lot of maintenance work in the raspberries and blackberries and so when those boys arrived, pretty much the next day, they went straight to work.
"So, without that extra force of labour, those jobs wouldn’t have happened. We would have had to downsize that property even further."
Workers from Solomon Islands are helping businesses like Queensland Berries right across Australia, with the Pacific island nation the biggest source country for the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) as of May 2022.
Solomon Islands workers have made up more than 26% of all workers in the PLS since the labour mobility restart in November 2020, bringing economic benefits and helping to forge people-to-people links between Australia and Solomon Islands.