The Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade has restarted its Pre-Departure Briefings for Solomon Islands workers, aiming to expand its presence in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme in 2024.
88 workers commenced a two-day briefing in Honiara this week as they prepare to embark on their journeys to Australia for employment with various Approved Employers in the coming year.
Collin Beck, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, spoke at the commencement of the briefing, emphasizing the significance of the Ministry's efforts in the PALM Scheme. He urged the workers to be exemplary ambassadors for Solomon Islands, highlighting how their conduct could open doors to increased opportunities for locals eager to participate in the scheme.
Given the high unemployment rate in the country, Beck noted the substantial interest in PALM, citing the remarkable response during the February-March 2023 recruitment drive, where over 16,000 people submitted applications.
As of the end of 2023, 6,800 Solomon Islands workers were employed in Australia under the PALM scheme. With the continuous positive feedback regarding the performance of Solomon Islanders under the "Here to Work" brand, the number is expected to surge this year.
Of the 88 workers attending the Pre-Departure Briefing, 69 are males, and 19 are females. This group includes both new workers and those returning after their break from the program.
The resumption of these briefings signals the government's commitment to facilitating overseas employment opportunities for its citizens and fostering positive relations under the PALM Scheme.