Vanuatu

Match schedule set for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ OFC preliminary competition

The tournament will determine which nation will represent Oceania in the FIFA intercontinental play-off in June 2022, from which the winner earns a spot at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ finals.  

A standalone match between the two lowest-ranked OFC nations, Tonga and the Cook Islands, will be held on March 13 to determine who qualifies through to join Group A and contest the preliminary competition. 

Group A, which will be made up of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tahiti and the qualifying match winner, will have its first Match Day on March 17. 

Pandemic presents big challenges for Pacific seasonal workers

New Zealand has a new one-way travel bubble with Pacific island countries such as Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Vaccinated RSE workers from these countries can come to New Zealand without self-isolating or taking Covid-19 tests on arrival, after the one-way quarantine-free travel took effect last week.

Up to 5,000 workers are needed across the horticulture and viticulture industries during peak summer season in December and January.

The usual supply of backpackers to New Zealand's recognised seasonal workers scheme remains cut off due to Covid-19 border restrictions.

Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.

Bookings trickle in for quarantine-free flights from Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Vanuatu

One-way travel with low-risk Pacific countries resumes on November 8 from the three islands and Tokelau, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced last week.

Travellers from those nations will be able to bypass spending 14 days at a managed isolation and quarantine facility.

All travellers, New Zealand citizens, and NZ resident or visa critical purpose visa holders, would need to have stayed 14 days in their countries before departure and aren’t required to provide a pre-departure test.

They must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens.

Pacific exporters explore market opportunities in Japan

This was underscored during a recent virtual Japan Market Brief for exporters and stakeholders in the Pacific and facilitated by the Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus).

The Brief was attended by PHAMA Plus partners and stakeholders from industry working groups, government agencies and business associations.  It provided insight into doing business in Japan, market opportunities, market access information and service offering for interested exporters.

Sending money home to the Pacific more often

In July 2021, ANZ customers in Australia and New Zealand sent 11,668 International Money Transfers to family and friends in the Pacific, worth AUD$ $13.1m (US$9.6 million), a 21 percent increase in volume when compared to the same period last year.

“In the Pacific, international money transfers - also known as remittances - are about more than money: they are about family, safety, culture, and community,” ANZ Regional Executive, Pacific, Tessa Price said.

Ardern announces RSE workers allowed one-way quarantine-free travel

In a post-Cabinet media briefing Monday afternoon, Ardern announced Cabinet had made the decision to allow Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from those countries to travel one way, without using MIQ.

The countries this would apply to reflected the fact all three nations had experienced very few cases of Covid-19, she said. Tonga had seen zero Covid-91 cases, Samoa just one, and Vanuatu had four - all those cases having been at the border with no community transmission.

UK and WHO deliver essential medical equipment across the Pacific

The World Health Organization’s Division of Pacific Technical Support based in Suva, Fiji, and the WHO Country Liaison Office in Tonga are working to meet these varied needs alongside partners like the government of the United Kingdom (UK).

Pacific Island Food Revolution TV show increases people’s uptake of healthy food

The programme commissioned the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics to do the assessment in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

The report found that watching and engaging with the show was responsible for an 'an excess improvement' on average of 33 per cent in Fiji, 38 per cent in Vanuatu, 146 per cent in Samoa, and 262 per cent in Tonga.

Simona Achitei the Grants and Program Manager for the show said the programme was trying a new development model to address the increasing rates of NCD’s.

Division over NZ's RSE worker boost, Pacific reacts

New Zealand's Government announced this month about 2400 more migrant workers will be allowed into the country for seasonal horticultural work, many from the Pacific Islands.

Pacific governments remain keen to get as many of their workers into New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer, or RSE, scheme, as possible

But Unions and economists say fruit and vegetable pickers from the Pacific Islands suffer high costs and poor pay and are often left with almost no money to send home.