Today on the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne signed two agreements:
1. an MOU to allow Vanuatu to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme 2. an MOU to allow Vanuatu to test certain medicines in Australian laboratories
The MOU to allow Vanuatu to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme is significant because:
a) the Pacific Labour Scheme is for non-seasonal low- and semi-skilled occupations. The Seasonal Work Program (SWP) which Vanuatu currently participates in is only for unskilled occupations, e.g., fruit-picking, so this new program (PLS) now expands the occupations Vanuatu citizens can work in to hospitality, etc b) the Pacific Labour Scheme commenced on 1 July 2018 only with workers from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. This agreement now allows workers from Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to also participate in this program c) this program allows for Vanuatu citizens to be granted a multiple-entry Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa, or its equivalent, valid for up to three years.