The Solomon Islands and New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme partnership will be strengthened by the signing of an Inter-Agency Understanding (IAU) between the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and the New Zealand Department of Labour this morning.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon William Haomae and New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden will be signing the IAU as a testimony of the commitment and collaboration between the two countries under the RSE policy.

This IAU sets out each country's obligations regarding Solomon Islanders who travel to New Zealand for seasonal work in the horticulture or viticulture industry.

"The RSE scheme is a real win-win, not only in generating income for workers, but also exposing them to new ideas which can contribute to the growth of the Solomon Islands economy," said Minister Haomae.

"New Zealand employers value the reliable, hard-working contribution of Solomon Islanders in their fruit-growing businesses," said High Commissioner Mark Ramsden. "I am confident the measures outlined in the IAU lay a solid groundwork to further strengthen and develop the RSE policy."

Since 2007 more than 450 Solomon Islands citizens have worked in New Zealand under the RSE scheme, picking fruits and grapes or working in pack houses.

In Solomon Islands the scheme is facilitated by the Labour Mobility Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, with co-operation from the New Zealand High Commission in Honiara.

Press Release: Government Communications Unit