Migrant worker scheme may be endorsed
June 9, 2008 - 6:27AM
A trial migration scheme aimed at easing labour shortages in Australia could be endorsed by federal cabinet as early as next week.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Pacific plan could see up to 5,000 islanders granted special work visas to come Down Under and work on farms and in vineyards, News Limited newspapers reported on Monday.
The plan, to be considered by cabinet on June 19, would bring workers from Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu, however, Fiji will not be a part of the trial.
Under the scheme, the workers would be granted visas of up to seven months to work in regional communities, where they would receive Australian award wages and conditions before returning to their home countries with greater skills.
Union groups have endorsed the Regional Seasonal Employment scheme, which has already been successfully trialled in New Zealand.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Andrew Rob told News Ltd the Coalition has an "open mind" on the plan.
Source: The Age
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