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Government announces changes to existing RSE Policies and Strategies

Apia, Samoa – 29 September 2023: Cabinet has approved the following changes articulated in the Samoa’s Policy for Temporary Labor Migration under the Labor Mobility Schemes of Australia and New Zealand.  The amendments are designed to strengthen the Seasonal Employment initiatives which is benefiting thousands of local family’s year in and year out.

The changes include:

  • Increase safe and secure employment opportunities for Samoans that are most vulnerable,
  • Prioritize the mobilization of persons that are unemployed, and have been unemployed for a significant period of time (i.e., more than 6 months without employment),
  • Ensure that the labor mobility opportunities are equally distributed amongst the whole of Samoa (i.e., equal opportunities available by Constituency and Village) through the newly established Constituency Committees,
  • Involve the Constituency Committees in the vetting of candidates process for the labor mobility schemes,
  • Ensure workers are appropriately compensated for their services rendered,
  • Enhance safety measures for workers while they are deployed oversees,
  • Consolidate and centralize all labor mobility operations through the Government of Samoa, ensuring registration and oversight of all private recruiters, employer companies and/or contractors and workers:
  • Regulating the operations of private recruiters to ensure equitable and transparent recruitment process and avoiding unethical practices where workers are subject to excessive up-front costs or recruitment fees and recruiting from other districts.
  • To strengthen oversight of the schemes, all approved employers wishing to recruit from Samoa must first inform the Government (MCIL-LEEP) of its intentions.
  • To assess the level of obligation on approved employers related to costs of recruitment and mobilization including travel, wage deductions, and pastoral care/housing/utilities.
  • Strengthening information sharing mechanisms amongst the Governments of Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand, The Employers, And All Other Labor Mobility Stakeholders Involved.
  • To commit all individual employers and contractors to properly engage in negotiating fair contractual arrangements to include benefits and all other conditions of employment prior to departure.


  1. Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) – New Zealand

Established in 2007 in the horticulture and viticulture industries for up to seven months in any 11- month period. Most workers are based in Nelson, Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, and the Bay of Plenty regions.

  1. Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) In Australia

Established in 2018 opportunities for low and semi-skilled workers to participate in employment for up to 3 years in rural and regional Australia in accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, and non-seasonal agriculture, forestry, and fishing.

  1. Seasonal Workers Program (SWP} in Australia
    Seasonal work in the agriculture sector as well as the accommodation and tourism sectors for up to 9 months at a time.
  1. Pacific Trade Partnership (PTP) In New Zealand (This Was A Pilot Initiative)

A joint initiative of Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE-NZ) and Minitry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT-SAMOA)  to connect New Zealand Construction Employers experiencing labour shortages with skilled and experienced carpenters and hammer hands from Samoa on temporary work visas for up to three years. Primarily in Christchurch.

  1. Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) in New Zealand

The Labour and Employment Export Program Division (LEEP) Division is also responsible for facilitating employment of Samoan workers for select New Zealand employers who want to work in partnership with Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labor (MCIL.) This is a visa pathway and accredited employers currently can facilitate recruitment outside of MCIL. Employers must have NZ accreditation to recruit workers to fill occupations where there is a genuine labour skills shortage or no New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders are available to carry out work. This visa pathway, established in August 2022, replaces six (6) former work visas.