RSE stands for Recognised Seasonal Employer, the name of a new labour policy introduced by NZ in March 2007. According to the NZ Department of Labour:
The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Policy is a new policy that will facilitate the temporary entry of overseas workers to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops in the horticulture and viticulture industries...Through the scheme, up to 5000 workers per year may be recruited to work in the two key NZ industries of horticulture and viticulture. Nationals of 11 Forum countries, including Solomon Islands, are eligible.
SI workers recruited through the scheme can work up to 7 months out of every 11 in NZ, and are ensured of fair wages and adequate housing and working conditions throughout their tenure.
When started in March 2007, five countries were listed as kick start states: Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. NZ helped these countries "to develop special facilitative measures to prepare workers and arrange pastoral care for their time in New Zealand."
As Solomon Islands was not part of this scheme, RSE participation by SI workers has so far proceeded without the facilitative support mechanisms available to kick-start countries.
This is now changing, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, in consultation with the Ministry of Commerce, is putting together a government mechanism to facilitate the recruitment of citizens wishing to work in the seasonal labour markets offshore. According to PFNet's story, the Ministries of Trade and Commerce are collaborating to develop standardised recruitment systems:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, in consultation with the Ministry of Commerce, is putting together a government mechanism to facilitate the recruitment of citizens wishing to work in the seasonal labour markets offshore.Part of their impetus has come from suggestions of fraud on the part of local recruiters
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is taking the approach following recent concerns that some people are allegedly taking advantage of the opportunity by promising job offers in New Zealand under the RSE in return for money.But while mechanisms at the SI end are important, support in NZ is also important. Already a series of cases of pending against Samoan seasonal workers has raised the issue of cultural 'fit' between workers and NZ society:
A Samoa seasonal worker in New Zealand has been charged with sexual harassment over an alleged offence in a bar involving a waitress....
Meanwhile, the CEO has revealed that two other Samoan seasonal workers were deported last week following a fight in a local bar in Hawkes Bay.