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Australia's Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS): Development Impacts in the First Two Years

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Abstract

Australia launched the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme in August 2008. This program was designed to alleviate labor shortages for the Australian horticultural industry by providing opportunities for workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu to undertake seasonal work. This paper presents an analysis of the development impacts of this program in the first two years, and compares them to those from New Zealand’s seasonal worker program in the same countries. The overall development impact of the scheme to date is small, since only 215 individuals participated in the program in the first two years. We examine the selection of these workers, finding they tend to come from poorer areas of Tonga, but within these locations, appear to be of average income levels, and indeed are similar in many respects to the workers going to New Zealand. We estimate the gain per participating household to be approximately A$2,600, which is a 39 percent increase in per-capita annual income in participating Tongan households. The aggregate impact to date is small, but the experience of New Zealand’s program shows that seasonal worker programs can potentially have large aggregate effects. Finally, we provide some evidence on worker’s opinions about the program.

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  • John Gibson & David Mckenzie, 2011. "Australia's Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS): Development Impacts in the First Two Years," Working Papers in Economics 11/09, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:11/09
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    1. David McKenzie & Pilar Garcia Martinez & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "Who is coming from Vanuatu to New Zealand under the new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0806, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez & Dean Yang, 2011. "Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," Working Papers wp341, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
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    1. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2014. "Development through seasonal worker programs: the case of New Zealand’s RSE program," Chapters, in: Robert E.B. Lucas (ed.),International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 7, pages 186-210, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Mario Liebensteiner, 2014. "Estimating the Income Gain of Seasonal Labor Migration," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 667-680, November.
    3. John Gibson, 2015. "Expanded Social Protection May Do More Harm Than Good: A Pessimistic Review," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 652-659, September.
    4. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2014. "Development Impacts of Seasonal and Temporary Migration: A Review of Evidence from the Pacific and Southeast Asia," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 18-32, January.
    5. Michael Clemens, 2013. "The Effect of Foreign Labor on Native Employment: A Job-Specific Approach and Application to North Carolina Farms- Working Paper 326," Working Papers 326, Center for Global Development.
    6. Carol Farbotko & Celia McMichael & Olivia Dun & Hedda Ransan‐Cooper & Karen E. McNamara & Fanny Thornton, 2018. "Transformative mobilities in the Pacific: Promoting adaptation and development in a changing climate," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 393-407, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    development impacts; seasonal migration; Pacific Islands;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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