Female applicants for seasonal work in Aust, NZ told
GOVERNMENT officers involved in recruiting Solomon Islands nationals for seasonal work in Australia or New Zealand have allegedly turned it into a ‘sex or money” upfront or their applications would not be considered, it was revealed, Wednesday.
One female applicant said the officers who were engaged in the recruitment drive made it very clear to her they wanted to have sex with girls or women applicants before their applications could be considered.
According to this young woman, this happened towards the end of November last year. Because she refused to bow down to the demand, the young woman is still waiting for a decision on her application.
She named one officer at the Labour Mobility Unit, (LMU) who allegedly told her that he wanted to “fulfil his interest before any female applicant can go through.”
Solomon Star has withheld the name of the LMU officer that the woman had supplied.
Another woman – a mother of five – told Solomon Star yesterday of a separate incident involving payment of an “an agent” to fast-track applications.
This happened just before the November 2021 riot,” the mother said.
“All along I heard that if I paid the officers, my application would be fast-tracked.
“So I tugged along as I have two children that I want to go on the seasonal workers’ scheme. I went along because I really want to witness this firsthand,” the woman said.
She said another woman who came along paid the agent $1, 000 for herself and her husband. This was what I had personally witnessed with my own two eyes,” she said.
Two weeks later this woman and her husband were on the flight to Australia,” the woman said.
The woman said the practice had denied genuine applicants of a place in the seasonal workers’ scheme, adding those who have the oversight of the scheme must clean up their backyard.
“The Government needs to stand up to these officers and show them the door. We cannot continue entertaining crooked officers whose intentions are to stand in the way to satisfy their own selfish greed,” the woman said.
The government has consistently blamed delays in processing applications on employers in Australia.
But the mother of five said this excuse does not stand up.
“There are hundreds of applicants who have been waiting for more two years. And yet, there are those who came with money simply walked in and walked out, the woman said.
Solomon Star was unable to get a comment from the Labour Mobility Unit last night.
The overarching role of the Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) is to uphold the system in accordance with the policy framework; provide leadership, coordinate stakeholders and act as the regulatory body for labour mobility schemes on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.
The LMU is also responsible for selection, approval and managing the team of recruiting agents, which consist of a Marketing Officer, a Research Officer, an Information Management Officer, a Compliance Officer and a Worker Support Officer
Among other things, the LMU Policy Framework lays out the process and procedures for managing labour mobility, providing clarity on the role and responsibilities of the Labour Mobility Unit and key stakeholders
The policy was launched on 6th February 2020 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele.
By Alfred Sasako