NEW ZEALAND, SEASONAL WORKERS

Well run seasonal migration schemes ‘can transform people’s lives,’ says The Economist (20th Oct, 2018). In New Zealand, the “recognised seasonal employer” programme ‘began in 2007 with 5,000 migrant workers and has grown to 11,000. Almost all the workers who take part in this scheme are men from poor Pacific islands such as Tonga and Vanuatu. They are housed by New Zealand farmers, who also pay half the cost of their return tickets and guarantee them a certain amount of work. If the workers fail to depart at the end of the year, the farmers must pay for their removal. When John Gibson of the University of Waikato and David McKenzie of the World Bank evaluated the programme in 2014, they found huge effects. The average worker from Tonga or Vanuatu earned NZ$12,000 (currently $7,900) in a season, of which he sent NZ$5,000 home. After two years, households with a migrant member had higher incomes and savings, and nicer homes, than similar households without one. Few development programmes can boast such good results.’

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Economist, 20th Oct, 2018, p55-6, ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’.