The assistant minister for international development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, said under Australia's pledge to step up its relationship with Pacific nations it recognised that labour mobility was a key issue for them.
This was reflected in the 40 percent annual growth of the seasonal worker scheme, while a new Pacific labour scheme would also bring in 2000 workers over the next year, she said.
"We are looking at almost a two fold increase from eight and a half thousand to nearly 16 thousand in the 2018/19 year. So the seasonal workers' scheme is uncapped so obviously there is a huge amount of scope for the increase," Ms Ruston said.
Papua New Guinea has queried why it can’t get more workers into Australia while concerns have been raised that a new agricultural visa aimed at backpackers will threaten access for Pacific workers.
Photo source ABC