14 Aug 2006

World Bank says exporting workers is key for Pacific development

1:55 pm on 14 August 2006

The World Bank says Pacific Islands countries must have the opportunity to export workers to ensure their economies develop.

Pacific countries have been strongly pushing for short term access to the Australia and New Zealand labour markets, but Canberra particularly is opposed.

The Bank has just released a report called "Expanding Job Opportunities for Pacific Islands Through Labour Mobility" in which it outlines the benefits of migration for small countries.

A Pacific specialist with the World Bank, Chris Bleakley, says both the island and metropolitan countries would gain from such a scheme.

"We see in some countries at least there are large numbers of people with no or limited job opportunities and really limited hope of finding paid employment. In some countries I think this could lead to social unrest, whereas we see in the developed countries in the Pacific - New Zealand, Australia those sorts of places - there's demand for unskilled work."

Chris Bleakley