Samoa

Workers from Samoa, a small archipelago in the heart of the Pacific, are experienced in agriculture and horticulture, fisheries, health services and tourism work.

Find out how to recruit workers

Where is Samoa?

Samoa is a small archipelago in the centre of the South Pacific. It has a population of 192,000 people, and consists of two main islands (Savai’i and Upolu) and several smaller islands.

The capital, Apia, is located on Upolu, the most populous and developed of the islands.  

The economy is largely driven by agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Subsistence agriculture and fishing are integral to Samoan livelihoods; more than two-thirds of households are engaged in these activities.

Root crops (largely taro) and small-scale animal husbandry are the main agricultural activities, but the scope of production is diversifying. 

Samoa is considered the “heart of Polynesia”. Samoan culture can be traced back more than 3,000 years and is a source of pride. Today, traditional cultural practices are still an important aspect of everyday life in Samoa.

For example, fa’a Samoa, which translates as “the Samoan way”, means family is an integral part of life.

It means that each person, as a representative of their family, is responsible to act in a way that honours all family members and contributes to their family’s success. 

Samoan worker in Cowra

Samoa can provide unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled workers to fill labour shortages in Australia.

A large work-ready pool of both men and women, with experience in a variety of industries, means employers can recruit the most suitable workers for their specific needs. 

In Samoa, the Labour and Employment Export Division (LEEP) within the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, recruits, processes and prepares workers for overseas employment. 

Rigorous selection process

LEEP staff are experienced in worker recruitment and have an in-depth understanding of the Australian industry and employer needs.

This recruitment involves a rigorous selection process that ensures Australian businesses have a variety of skills and attributes to choose from. 

The Samoan Government prides itself on its transparent and accountable processes, and its responsiveness to employer requests.

Once workers are in Australia, there is a Samoan liaison officer based in Sydney who can help employers respond to worker questions and follow up any issues that may occur. 

Reputation 

Samoa has a positive track record of participation in labour mobility schemes, where both men and women are known for being strong, hardworking and quick to learn.

Samoan teams support each other to ensure all workers are doing their best for the reputation of the country.   

There is a high incidence of returning Samoan workers in the Seasonal Worker Programme. They come back year after year to work on farms, with ever-increasing skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for their work.

Culture of pride 

Samoans have a strong culture of community, instilling workers with pride and passion. The family-oriented nature of Samoan culture means workers have set themselves specific goals to achieve so they can bring skills and savings home to their families.   

Committed to learning

The Samoan Government invests in training Samoan workers in English and financial literacy.

This helps Samoan workers to make the most of their time in Australia and enables them to be more committed and focused on working and saving for the future. 

Employers who visit the Samoan villages their workers come from can see the actual benefits of their employment of Samoans.

Working in Australia benefits not only Samoan individuals, but their families and communities too.

Experience in labour mobility

Through Australian and New Zealand labour mobility programs, Samoans have worked in fruit and vegetable picking and packing, pruning, banana humping, poultry farming, fishing, tourism and meat processing. 

Agriculture and horticulture

With agriculture employing two-thirds of the population, a lot of workers in Samoa have significant expertise and experience in agricultural and horticultural work.

Workers have particular expertise growing, picking and packing root vegetables, copra, bananas, pineapples and coconuts. They are also highly experienced in animal husbandry practices.  

Building and construction

In Samoa, a lot of workers are also experienced in a variety of areas relevant to the building and construction sector, including carpentry, building and labouring, welding, scaffolding and electrical work.

Fisheries

Samoan workers are known for their skills in the fisheries sector, developing experience as local fisherman and also travelling the world on commercial fishing boats.

Health services

Samoa has a selection of workers who have Australian certificates and experience working in a variety of health and community services, including aged care, disability and youth services.

Tourism

In addition, tourism is an expanding sector in Samoa and there are increasing numbers of workers with considerable experience in the hospitality sector.

This includes food preparation, food and beverage service, cleaning and front of house. 

To recruit workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) or the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), an Australian employer must be registered as an Approved Employer, or they must recruit workers through a labour-hire firm that is an Approved Employer. 

To find out more about becoming an Approved Employer, visit the SWP employer information page on the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business website or the PLS employer information page.

If you are an Approved Employer, you can recruit workers from Samoa through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour. Contact LEEP by phone (+685 20 441) or by email (leep@mcil.gov.ws).

The Australian Government has two visa schemes available for Samoan nationals to work in Australia. 

The Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) provides access to unskilled work opportunities for up to nine months in the Australian agricultural and accommodation sectors (in selected locations).   

The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) enables citizens of Samoa to take up low-skilled and semi-skilled work in rural and regional Australia for one to three years. 

For information about the PLS or the SWP, contact LEEP by phone (+685 20 441) or by email (leep@mcil.gov.ws).

To join the Seasonal Worker Programme, an applicant must: 

  • be between 2140 years old 
  • hold a valid passport for the duration of the contract
  • be physically fit and healthy for the work specified (some employers require workers to pass a fitness test)
  • have no police criminal record 
  • be of good character, and be able to provide letters of reference from their village mayor and pastor 
  • demonstrate a positive attitude to work and a willingness to learn.

To join the Pacific Labour Scheme, an applicant must: 

  • be between 2140 years old 
  • hold a valid passport for the duration of the contract 
  • be physically fit and healthy for the work specified (some employers require workers to pass a fitness test)
  • have no police criminal record 
  • be of good character and be able to provide letters of reference from their village mayor and pastor 
  • have the qualifications and/or work experience required by employers 
  • have a reasonable standard of English unless Australian licensing mandates a higher standard  
  • demonstrate a positive attitude to work and a willingness to learn and commit to the employer’s values.

It is free to join the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme 

LEEP opens registrations twice a year and will advertise in Samoan media when this occurs. The next time will be early 2020.

View more countries participating in the Pacific Labour Scheme