Migrant Groups Are Urgently Calling On The Government To Include Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Workers
The government announced a one-off pathway to residency for several temporary work visas however are excluding a large group of migrants. Migrant groups are urgently calling on the Government to include Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers in the new immigration policy, before it is released. RSEs contribute significantly to Aotearoa’s economy and wellbeing through the work that they have been employed to do.
Most of the RSE workers have been in Aotearoa for at least five consecutive years since the scheme began in 2007. They have boosted the economic growth and productivity levels in the horticulture and viticulture industries. In 2007, New Zealand’s annual export earnings prior to the scheme were $2.6 billion dollars. In 2020, the earnings from the horticulture and viticulture industry were $9.2 billion dollars. The RSE workers were significant contributors to this growth.
The RSE scheme contributes an estimated $34-40 million NZD into the Pacific through remittances and in the period of the pandemic, this is critical to the livelihoods of households across the Pacific region. Aotearoa’s commitment to the Pacific relationship needs to be shown through its support of the RSE workers.
Fala Haulangi, campaign union organiser for E tū and coordinator for E tū Komiti Pasefika, shares:
“Pacific peoples were and are at the forefront across sectors providing essential services and helping in recovery and yet a large group of them are being excluded from this opportunity that acknowledges their contribution.
It was not long ago the New Zealand government apologised for the Dawn Raids with the intention to do better for our Pacific communities. This is an opportunity for Aotearoa to do just that. By including RSE workers who are largely from Pacific nations, we are acknowledging their contribution and essentially, giving individuals, families, and communities the legal status for what many already feel, that Aotearoa is their home”.
The announcement is welcome for many individuals, families and communities who are living in uncertainty; however, it needs to be extended to include RSE workers. The policy needs to reflect not only Aotearoa’s commitment to our Pacific neighbours, but also reflect our long-term commitment to growth and prosperity as a nation which these communities are key in.
The policy behind this announcement is yet to be released outlining further details.
We call on the Government to respect this relationship by including the RSE workers in its new 2021 Resident Visa pathway.
Reference: Statistics NZ and UN Comtrade.
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