03/07/2012 15:32

Australian parishes urged to welcome Pacific seasonal migrants

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office encourages local communities to welcome seasonal workers from the Pacific region into their parishes, it said in a media statement.

As of yesterday, Australian farmers can now employ workers from the Pacific region and East Timor under the Seasonal Worker Program.

Up to 2000 places are available in 2012-13 for seasonal workers from nations such as East Timor, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

"We expect many of the workers coming over to participate in the program will also be looking to attend church services and participate in the life of the parish throughout their stay in Australia" said Fr Maurizio Pettenà, National Director of ACMRO (pictured).

"Parishes and local community groups are encouraged to make these workers feel welcomed and included".

The Catholic Church, through ACMRO, has been part of the National Stakeholder Consultative Panel (NSCP) in order to assist with consultation and engagement in implementing the Seasonal Worker Program.

"The Seasonal Worker Program is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the economic development of Pacific Island countries" said Joe Moloney, ACMRO consultant to the NSCP. (Cathnews.com 02 July 2012)