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Who is coming from Vanuatu to New Zealand under the new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?

David McKenzie (), Pilar Garcia Martinez and L. Winters

No 806, CReAM Discussion Paper Series from Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London

Abstract: New Zealand's new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program allows workers from the Pacific Islands to come to New Zealand for up to seven months to work in the horticulture and viticulture industries. One of the explicit objectives of the program is to encourage economic development in the Pacific. In this paper we report on the results of a baseline survey taken in Vanuatu, which allows us to examine who wants to participate in the program, and who is selected amongst those interested. We find the main participants are males in their late 20s to early 40s, most of whom are married and have children. Most workers are subsistence farmers in Vanuatu and have not completed more than 10 years of schooling. Such workers would be unlikely to be accepted under existing migration channels. Nevertheless, we find RSE workers from Vanuatu to come from wealthier households, and have better English literacy and health than individuals not applying for the program. Lack of knowledge about the policy and the costs of applying appear to be the main barriers preventing poorer individuals applying.

Date: 2008-08
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