This research stems from a 10-year longitudinal study of 22 ni-Vanuatu temporary migrant labourers participating in New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) established on 30 April 2007. The RSE scheme was a grower-initiated policy and the objectives were two-fold: to fill the chronic shortfall of available labour in the horticulture and viticulture sectors and at the same time, New Zealand (NZ) government officials promoted the RSE as a way forward for economic development in the Pacific region, via remittances sent home. With a lack of waged employment opportunities in their home countries, many families in the Pacific region perceive labour mobility opportunities as an additional source of income that can meet individual and community needs. The positive economic and social outcomes from the RSE makes it attractive for governments, industries and Pacific workers alike, and is the reason why the scheme has seen continued expansion.
The study has focused on three main areas:
- Identifying the various social and economic impacts for employers, RSE workers, their families, workers’ communities, as well as New Zealand communities in which workers reside.
- Knowing more about the interactions between seasonal workers, their employers and local NZ communities.
- Tracking how the program has changed and expanded over time, monitoring the challenges and strengthening the positive impacts while mitigating negative unintended consequences.