175 local seasonal workers jetted out of the country yesterday for Australia to join other Pacific countries to formally join the restart of Australia’s labour mobility programs.
The workers flew out of the country at 5 pm on Wednesday on a special chartered flight operated by Virgin.
They will undergo quarantine clearance before being allowed to start work, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Collin Beck over the weekend.
Most of the workers have been looking forward to the trip.
A statement from the Australian High Commission last week said the Solomon Islands is one of the first countries to be part of the revived labour scheme.
Other Pacific countries such as Fiji and Vanuatu have also been engaged in the scheme.
Australian High Commissioner Dr. Lachlan Strahan and Second Secretary for Skills and Labour Mobility Renee Paxton along with Mr. Beck met the workers at a pre-departure training last week.
Most of the 175 workers will work in abattoirs and on farms in Queensland.
These workers will be the first to go to Australia under the restart of the Pacific labour mobility, since COVID restrictions in March.
Australia’s labour mobility programs are a win-win situation for Australia and Solomon Islands, the statement said.
“They support Australian industries by providing essential workers in critical sectors of Australia’s economy and deliver direct and tangible benefits to our Pacific family by providing skills, income, and valuable remittances which support the economic development of the Solomon Islands and the region.
“Given COVID’s severe impact on the region’s economic development, this is now, more important than ever.
“We wish all the workers every success in their new roles over the next few years and a safe journey to Australia,” the statement said.