12:30—2:00 PM
Center for Global Development, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC

How pro-poor is the international recruitment of seasonal agricultural labor from developing countries? Evidence from a new program in New Zealand

John Gibson 
Professor, University of Waikato 
Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development 

Moderated by
Michael Clemens 
Research Fellow, Center for Global Development

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Please bring your lunch--drinks provided

Center for Global Development
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC


Abstract: New Zealand's new Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) program allows Pacific Islanders to seasonally migrate to New Zealand to work in horticulture and viticulture for up to seven months at a time. This sort of seasonal work policy is increasingly recommended by international aid agencies as a way for both developed and developing countries to benefit from migration, by allowing workers to send remittances home and gain new skills, without the source country losing the worker permanently and the receiving country facing long-term assimilation costs. Since evidence on the development impact of seasonal worker programs is scarce we are carrying out surveys in Tonga and Vanuatu of households with RSE migrants, households where people applied to the RSE but were not recruited, and households where no one applied to the RSE. These surveys were carried out prior to the first workers leaving for New Zealand and again while the worker was away. Our initial results analyze how pro-poor the recruitment process has been to date. We find that the RSE program does seem to have succeeded in creating new opportunities for relatively poor and unskilled Pacific Islanders to work in New Zealand.

Download paper (pdf, 77K)

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