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International labor migration is of benefit to both the sending and receiving countries. For the sender it can make a significant positive contribution, including remittance flows and the transfer of investment, technology and critical skills through return migration and engagement with diaspora communities. Likewise, it is of direct benefit to destination countries, addressing labor and skills shortages that threaten to jeopardize sustainability and growth of key industries and sectors. The key challenges are Governance: How do you effectively govern or manage labor migration? What are appropriate roles and responsibilities of various state and non-state actors? Protection: How do you ensure protection of migrant workers and their families at home and abroad? Development: How do you maximize labor migration’s impact on the sender’s Economic and Social Development? Promotion: How do you promote access for the sender to the International Labour Markets? What are the opportunities? What are the constraints?


Our international expert developed and undertook a policy consultation process to both input into and inform on the issues and workable solutions on labour migration and immigration, including whether the scheme should be widened beyond those existing with Australia and New Zealand, cover emigration and immigration, cover temporary and/or permanent migration, and include unskilled, and/or semiskilled and/or skilled. In addition, the expert considered whether there should be links with the Government’s national priorities and strategies — especially the Priorities and Action Agenda – “an educated, healthy and wealthy Vanuatu.” A phased approach for policy development was undertaken, with Phase 1: being the establishment of formal governance arrangements to achieve decisions related to the development of the policy, Phase 2: the design and approval of the policy development process and timeframe, Phase 3: issues identification and consultation, and Phase 4: the development of policies to address the issues identified and achieve the objectives sought. This process enabled the development of specific policy solutions that contributed to achieving agreed policy objectives and support the development of a national policy framework to govern labour sending/migration for Vanuatu, including development of issues and options paper for consultation, drafting of a final Strategy Paper and Cabinet Paper for presentation to Ministers and subsequent endorsement.

A whole of government approach, and consideration to labor migration, was developed that promoted benefits and protected the welfare and rights of Vanuatu nationals and temporary foreign workers that enter Vanuatu’s borders. The policies were supported by legislation and assured the financial and technical means for implementation and effective and efficient administration, monitoring and enforcement.

  • Migrant workers earned US$ 440 billion in 2011, US$350 billion returned to developing countries.
  • Labor migration is an integral part of national development and employment strategies of both sending and receiving nations.
  • Labor migration allows high remittance flows, transfer of investment, technology, and critical skills.
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