Thursday, April 25, 2024

Travel dates confirmed for RSE scheme

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The Government has confirmed that Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers can come into the country quarantine-free from October 4.
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The Government has confirmed that Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers can come into the country quarantine-free from October 4.

“We’re pleased to announce that RSE workers from Vanuatu can begin arriving in New Zealand from 4 October, with Samoan and Tongan workers arriving from 12 October,” Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor said.

“This will provide much-needed certainty for our growers as they gear up for summer and autumn harvesting.”

People arriving under the scheme must meet strict health conditions.

These include requirements to be vaccinated with at least one dose pre-departure, complete a period of self-isolation on arrival and return negative covid-19 tests at Day 0 and Day 5. Employers will be providing the self-isolation facilities.

They must also complete their vaccination post-arrival.

“Despite the challenges of a covid world, which has constrained the number of RSE workers who could come through MIQ, the Government has remained committed to the scheme,” he said.

“The horticulture sector is worth over $6 billion to New Zealand’s exports. Having people coming to our shores through the RSE scheme to harvest and prune is essential to us maintaining our economic recovery from covid-19, a recovery which is very much export-led.

“We are also aware of the positive impact the scheme has on our Pacific neighbours with the benefits of the hard work done by RSE workers flowing back home from our shores.”

The commencement of quarantine-free travel (QFT) for RSE workers forms a pilot scheme to test systems in preparation for a broader and safe reopening of the borders.

“We will closely monitor this first stage of one-way quarantine-free travel as we want to expand eligibility for quarantine-free entry to New Zealand from these countries and Tokelau when we can be sure it is safe to do so.”

Up to 14,400 RSE workers normally come through NZ each year, with approximately 10,500 being in the country at peak harvesting times pre-covid. As at August, around 7000 workers were in NZ.

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