Dear Editor,

Agents must not be allowed to take advantage of people who seek jobbs under the seasonal workers schemes in New Zealand and Austraila. Agents who charge a large portion of workers earnings must not be allowed to operate. Agents must not ask for large upfront payments.

Experience in the last two years shows that some people are still waiting to go to work in NZ. The "come back tomorrow" phenomenon is commonly heard by people who come from the provinces to wait in Honiara.

The SI government now says that licensed agents will be appointed to recruit workers but they must not charge fees. How on earth are the agents going to meet the costs of communicating with the RSEs in NZ and Australia? It costs money for phones, faxes and e-mails, let alone stationery and operation costs. Private recruiting agents should not be seen to provide a free service. Remember, there is no free lunch!

The New Zdealand scheme has been restricted to only a few Forum Island Countries (Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga) but Solomon Islands was lucky to have some people taken by RSEs. The announcement of the Aussie scheme excludes Solomon Islands again in the first few years and covers only the countries in the NZ scheme plus PNG. Why would Australia take workers from the same FICs as for the NZ scheme? Why not try other countries? Kiribati seasonal workers are now conveniently getting 'lost' in NZ to escape returning to their country. Should people from such countries continue to be employed under the scheme?

Solomon Islands has a lot of unemployed people who want a chance to make a living and SIG should work more harder for its people to be included in the up-coming harvest season. The authorities must act in the interest of the people.