Visa arrangement to address social impacts: Singh

September 14, 2023 4:45 pm

Employment Minister Agni Deo Singh while speaking in Parliament [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]

The Australian Government has committed to piloting Family Accompaniment and the Pacific Engagement Visa which will address the issues of extramarital affairs among Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme workers.

While speaking in Parliament, Employment Minister Agni Deo Singh highlighted that this will allow PALM scheme workers on long-term placements to bring their families to Australia with the agreement of their employer sponsor.

Singh says this is aimed at addressing the social impacts of long periods of family separation and building deeper connections.

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He adds that extramarital affairs is one of the social impacts.

“The number of reported cases received on welfare issues around extramarital affairs under the scheme began in February 2021. It is a major social impact faced by workers’ families here in Fiji, including related issues such as no communication and no remittance.”

Singh says since the inception of the PALM scheme in 2019, 1.5 percent of Fijian workers engaged under the scheme have been involved in extramarital affairs.

He adds that while the number sounds insignificant, even one family abandoned by the breadwinner is a matter of deep concern to all of us.

Singh has acknowledged the workers who have remained focused and have achieved most of their goals beyond their expectations, as we have read in the social media and the local mainstream media and heard from these workers directly.