19 Jul 2016

Pacific labour mobility "untapped"

11:57 am on 19 July 2016

The World Bank says the full potential of labour mobility between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region remains largely untapped.

The Bank, along with the Australian National University, presented a document during this week's Pacific Update Conference in Suva.

'Pacific Possible: Labour Mobility' found 240,000 more Pacific Islanders could potentially migrate abroad by 2040.

These workers could generate up to US$10 billion of additional income, a significant proportion of which would be sent home as remittances.

World Bank social protection scientist, Jesse Doyle, said increasing labour mobility had the potential to be transformative, not only for workers and their families, but for the islands' economies.

The report also highlighted how the need for additional workers would grow in Australia and New Zealand, because of those countries' ageing population.

The ANU's Professor Stephen Howes said labour mobility was critical for the future of the Pacific.

RSE worker offloads apples into a crate in a Hawke's Bay orchard.

A worker from Fiji on New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme offloads apples into a crate in a Hawke's Bay orchard. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades