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Samoa govt fears labour drain after Canberra offers work visas

Samoa's Acting Prime Minister has expressed concern at Australia offering up to 3000 visas for Pacific migrants, saying it will further drain Samoa's already strained labour workforce.

It comes as the government tries to find out how a group of workers were able to depart for New Zealand for seasonal work, despite the temporary ban on the regional seasonal employer scheme.

Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio told the Parliament in Apia that the Australian Government made the announcement on new visas without consulting the Samoan Government.

He said this would hurt the Samoan labour workforce and lead to the loss of more skilled workers and their families to Australia permanently.

The 3000 visas would be allocated annually through a ballot process across Pacific countries and Timor Leste.

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