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English has become a problem causing loss of opportunities at the Temporary work scheme with NZ and Australia

(Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 26/09/2016)

The inability to speak fluent English has become a challenge faced by Tongans during times of screening for recruitment of temporary workers from overseas, especially NZ and Australia.

‘Ana Bing Fonua – CEO of Internal Affairs told Radio and Television Tonga News, this was evident in the recruitment of construction workers for Christchurch, New Zealand.

She says 24 workers were required from Tonga, Fiji and Samoa, a pilot scheme but only one was selected from Tonga.

The CEO adds, it is important for New Zealand companies that workers are able to read hazard signs to avoid any complicated incidents from happening.

Tonga shares this language barrier problem with Fiji and Samoa.

The CEO also spoke of their visit to the Tongan fruit-pickers under the Government scheme in Queensland, Australia.

She says, the supervisor of the Tongan workers in the area – Poasi Lomu says, they’re not satisfied with the recent comments accusing Overseas Contractors of abusing the Tongan temporary workers.

The CEO says they’ve visited their accommodation and working areas and received good feed backs from the workers which deny the previous reports of short payments and poor treatment of workers which can affect Tonga’s reputation in future selection of workers from the Pacific.

About 200 Tongans are temporarily working in the Queensland, harvest and pack bananas, zucchini, and tomatoes.

© Radio & TV Tonga News 2016