Speaking at the opening of the awareness program in November, Mr. John Yamin, Interim Coordinator of the Program emphasized that the program was "an opportunity for rural young men and women in Papua New Guinean, who may be unskilled, semi-skilled , are unemployed and are healthy, able and willing to make a change in their lives by travelling outside their home communities to earn a living". The Seasonal Worker Program has never employed the services of Agents to collect any monies for the processing of application.
It was very disappointing to find persons making money out of hard earned money by villagers who work their gardens in order to meet the requirements of the program.
Some of those who attended the road show at the Alotau International Hotel revealed names and figures of how much they have had to pay to get selected in the program. They claimed that they were requested to pay from K300-K500.00 for each application.
Provincial Labour officers in Alotau were only made aware of the situation much later, which resulted in some of the culprits being apprehended. The public is advised to report any persons who may be requesting money for Seasonal Worker/ Fruit Picking applications to their labour officers in their respective provinces.
The Pacific Seasonal Worker Program was an Australian Government initiative to provide labour for manpower shortages in the Horticulture industry. Since Papua New Guineas participation in the program in 2011 and then recently with New Zealand's Recognized Seasonal Employer Program in 2012 more than 80 people have benefited from the program, 3 of whom are from Milne Bay.
Should you require further information about the program please contact our office on 3011600 or 3011626 on email PNGSWCO@ned.gov.pg.