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faq for workers

1. How do I apply to be a Seasonal Worker?

If you would like to be a seasonal worker in the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme or the Australian Seasonal Worker scheme, you will need to complete the Ministry of Internal Affairs Overseas Seasonal Employment Application Form. Please read the Guidelines carefully which will help you with completing the Form correctly.

You can download and print this Application Form from this website, or collect it from the Ministry of Internal Affairs office in your island group.

You must complete Section One of the Application Form and attach with your application a passport sized photograph and photocopies of the following documents (not originals):

  • Birth certificate
  • National ID Card
  • Passport, if available
  • Police record with “full disclosure”
  • Driver’s license, if available

You must then take your Application Form together with any attachments to your Town Officer and/or District Officer who will complete Section Two of the application form.

In this section, they will be asked to provide their honest assessment of you according to the Ministry of Internal Affair’s Selection Criteria for Seasonal Workers, and verify information previously provided by you in Section One. Your Town Officer and/or District Officer will then return the completed Application (including Section One, Section Two and attachments) directly to the Ministry of Internal Affairs main office on your behalf.

2. Which countries can I go to work?

New Zealand with the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme and Australia with the Seasonal Worker Programme.

3. What kind of work will I be doing?

As a seasonal worker in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme or Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) you may be asked to do the following work:

Horticulture: Prepare land, plant, prune, cultivate, harvest and pack fruit and vegetables

Viticulture: Prepare land, plant, prune, grow and treat wine vines, and pick and harvest wine grapes.

If you are in SWP, you may also be employed in other industries apart from horticulture and viticulture, such as cane, cotton, aquaculture and accommodation and will be doing other kinds of work.

4. How long will I be working?

It depends on your employment contract with your RSE or SWP employer. This can vary from four to six months.

5. How much will I be paid?

This is determined by your employment terms and conditions with your RSE or SWP employer. You will be paid at least the current minimum wage of New Zealand and Australia.

6. Do I have to pay for the airline ticket and visa?

Under the RSE scheme, the employer will pay for half of your return international airfare. Under the SWP scheme, the employer will pay for the first $500 of your return international airfare. Most RSE and SWP employers will organise and pay for your international airfare upfront, and you will then repay your portion of the airfare over time through deductions from your weekly pay.

7. Is it ok for my partner and/or children to travel with me?

No.

8. What are the eligibility requirements?

If you would like to participate in RSE or SWP, you must first meet the following eligibility requirements:

Age Requirements

  • Over 21

Health Requirements

  • No medical conditions (including dental) requiring ongoing-treatment or hospitalisation, or that would affect work productivity
  • No major communicable diseases including Tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, etc...
  • Not pregnant

Character Requirements – Police Record

  • Full disclosure of criminal record, including convictions from over 10 years, and in any country.
  • No criminal offences committed within the last 5 years, including minor offences.
  • No major criminal offences, such as assault and theft.
  • Applicants with minor criminal offences committed more than 5 years ago will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants with major criminal offences will not be considered.

Character Requirements – Visa Issues

  • Have not been deported, refused entry or removed from any country.
  • No outstanding Court orders restricting applicant from leaving Tonga.

Other Requirements

  • No absconders in immediate family or community in the last three years.
  • If you have parental responsibilities for school-aged children, MIA has to be satisfied that there will be someone who can and will take on parental responsibilities if you are selected to participate.

Support from family members

  • If you are married, you must obtain a letter of support from their spouse.
  • If you are not married, you must obtain a letter of support from their parents.

Endorsement by town officers and/or district officers

  • District and town officers will also evaluate you based on the Ministry of Internal Affairs Selection Criteria for Seasonal Workers. You must be assessed by meeting all the Selection Criteria in order to participate in RSE or SWP.

Those not meeting the above eligibility requirements cannot participate in RSE or SWP and will not be registered in the Work Ready Pool.

9. What are the Selection Criteria?

The Ministry of Internal Affairs regards the selection of suitable workers to participate in overseas seasonal employment programs, including Australia’s Seasonal Worker Program and New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, as a high priority. It is important that Tongan workers who are selected by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to participate in these overseas employment programs will promote and maintain Tonga’s overseas reputation as a source of reliable, skilled and productive seasonal labour.

In addition to the minimum eligibility requirements, you must satisfy the following Ministry of Internal Affairs Selection Criteria:

  • Good character
  • No criminal, visa, alcohol, drug or kava dependency problems
  • Healthy and fit for the type of seasonal work as specified by employer
  • Suitable skills for the type of seasonal work as specified by employer
  • Genuine intention to work under the seasonal employment program and return to Tonga once the employment period has ended
  • Strong work ethic
  • English listening and speaking ability
  • Courteous and respectful
  • Genuine household need to participate in the overseas seasonal employment program

These Selection Criteria will be used by your Town and District Officer to assess you on your suitability for overseas seasonal work such as RSE and SWP in Section Two of the Overseas Seasonal Employment Application Form.

These Selection Criteria will also be used during your interview by the Ministry of Internal Affairs Selection Panel which is the third and final stage of the Selection Process. If you meet all the Ministry of Internal Affairs Selection Criteria as well as any Selection Criteria specified by the employer, we will provide your worker profile to the RSE or SWP employer who will make the final decision on your selection.

10. What is the Work Ready Pool?

The Work Ready Pool (WRP) is a pool where all profiles of applicants whose application is successful and has been endorsed are kept for selection by famers/employers.

11. How will I know that I have been selected by the farmer/employer?

The Employment Division will contact you by phone or mobile to invite you to come for an interview if you have been successful in Part 1 and 2 of the Selection Process. You will be asked some questions and the MIA Selection Panel will consider if you meet the MIA Selection Criteria as well as any further Selection Criteria specified by the employer. If you are successful, we will provide your worker profile to the RSE or SWP employer who will make the final decision on your selection.

Every successful applicant that has been selected by the employer/farmer will be contacted by phone/mobile to inform him/her of their selection. For updates, we advise applicants to contact the MIA office in your island group to get updates on their application.

12. What is the Ministry of Internal Affairs Selection Process?

Please refer the Ministry of Internal Affairs Selection Policy

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