The fruit-pickers employed on an Almond farm in Western Victoria are an important part of President Tong’s vision for ultimately relocating the entire population of Kiribati to other countries.

In 2010, the Kiribati government signed on to the Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS), which provide seasonal employment opportunities in fruit-picking and horticulture industries. Only small numbers of Kiribati people have been able to benefit so far, but these numbers are expected to increase. A similar scheme in New Zealand – The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme – has proven very successful.

Workers employed under these schemes have been able to remit large amounts of money back to their families in Kiribati, which is usually spent on education, as well as on home improvements. Its been well-documented that pacific seasonal workers contribute to the economic development of participating countries through remittances, skill training and simply experiencing a new culture.