Skip to Main Navigation

Pacific Labor Mobility, Migration and Remittances in Times of COVID-19 : Interim Report (English)

The COVID-19 crisis is likely to severely impact labor mobility and diaspora groups from the Pacific, with consequent reductions in the value of remittances. Many Pacific workers find employment in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and Pacific Labor Scheme (PLS), and in New Zealand under the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme. They engage primarily in low-skilled jobs in the agriculture sector under short-term contracts of 6-11 months. As a result of COVID-19, new arrivals under such schemes have largely ceased. Pacific Islanders who are working in Australia and New Zealand under longer-term visas, including those under the semi-skilled PLS, also face higher unemployment risk as host economies are affected by the pandemic. COVID-19 is therefore likely to result in income loss amongst migrant workers due to reduced work hours, loss of employment, and even potential infection. Border restrictions will also prevent travel by new workers and will increase costs incurred by workers to comply with COVID-19-related rules, such as mandatory quarantine. This briefing note presents interim findings on the impacts of COVID-19 on Pacific migrant workers and the Pacific diaspora, discussing likely implications for resulting remittances to Pacific Island countries. It forms part of an ongoing study of Pacific labor mobility, migration and remittances, which involves surveys of Pacific workers and their employers under various labor mobility schemes in Australia and New Zealand, as well as diaspora groups in both countries. A final report will be completed in January 2021.


  • Author

    Doan,Dung Thi Thuy, Dornan,Matthew Selwyn, Silva Parsons,Kenia Hatsue, Petrou,Kirstie Cameron, Yi,Soonhwa

  • Document Date


  • Document Type


  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country

    PNG & PI,

  • Region

    East Asia and Pacific,

  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Pacific Labor Mobility, Migration and Remittances in Times of COVID-19 : Interim Report

  • Keywords

    remittance; seasonal worker; Gender-Based Violence; Household Income and Expenditure Survey; Occupation; migrant worker; Levels of Educational Attainment; employer having; Diaspora; diaspora groups; labor mobility; job loss; labor market condition; Migration and Remittances; rates of unemployment; country of birth; lack of skill; loss of employment; public health response; labour market information; income loss; high school graduate; papua new guineans; higher education level; external affairs; chronic health condition; complete secondary school; secondary school level; family back home; living in poverty; health insurance coverage; reduction in employment; labor market outcome; cost of living; total labor force; poverty alleviation impact; fiscal stimulus package; place of work; social security contribution; family at home; social protection system; seasonal migrant worker; social insurance contribution; community social service; demand for worker; social assistance measures; financial sector specialist; lower educational attainment; Poverty and Equity; loss of livelihood; employment and unemployment; loss of remittance; migrant destination country; social security payment; lower oil price; value of remittance; foreign skilled worker; decline in remittance; level of remittance; general population; sales worker; ethnic group; low-skilled job; resident population; household consumption; reduced work; downside risk; Death rates; data policy; tourist arrival; remittance inflow; tourism



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Doan,Dung Thi Thuy Dornan,Matthew Selwyn Silva Parsons,Kenia Hatsue Petrou,Kirstie Cameron Yi,Soonhwa

Pacific Labor Mobility, Migration and Remittances in Times of COVID-19 : Interim Report (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.