15 Dec 2011

Solomon Islands new entrant to Australia seasonal work scheme

1:58 pm on 15 December 2011

Australia says its pilot seasonal work scheme will be expanded to allow up to 2,500 workers from the Pacific islands into the country.

A pilot scheme, to provide seasonal workers to the Australian horticulture industry, has been operating for several years.

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary of Pacific Islands Affairs, Richard Marles, says over 750 workers have participated in the pilot, which has been working well.

He's now revealed that Australia is ready to expand the scheme.

Mr Marles says this reflects Canberra's view that stronger regional integration, including through increased labour mobility and remittances, is critical to the economic future of Pacific island countries.

The Solomon Times reports that Australia and Solomon Islands have this week signed a memorandum of understanding that will formally enable the Solomons to participate in the scheme.