Australia's Ambassador Peter Robert meeting with secretary of state for professional and training (SEPFOPE) Alarico do Rosario(Image Tatoli/Natalino Costa)

DILI, 22 july 2020 (TATOLI) – The SEPFOPE State Secretary Alarico do Rosário said this year Australia has requested an additional 600 workers from Timor-Leste, with the added cost of $2500 per worker to complete a mandatory 14 days of quarantine in Australia.

Mr Rosário said, after a meeting with the Australian Ambassador Peter Roberts, that the cooperation between Australia and TL for the Seasonal Working Program (SWP) would continue during COVID-19.

“We will continue this program, because currently, companies are willing to take a total of 600 Timorese workers, to pick the mangos, the workers will complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the cost of $2.500 each. Therefore, we need to have discussions on the funding of this quarantine from the Government, and we are in the process of negotiating this” Mr Rosário said.

Mr Rosario has also asked the Ambassador to talk with their Government about a lower cost for quarantine. Australian Ambassador Peter Roberts said he would find the way to address this.

The Australian Government requires 5000 to 10.000 Timorese workers, but SEPFOPE is focusing on these 600 workers first.

Ambassador Peter Roberts told journalists that the hiring process for the SWP would continue despite many countries facing the global pandemic. Australia will call for more workers from Timor-Leste once demand picks up.

“Australia will continue to work with SEPFOPE to continue this program, which hopefully will continue as it has a good impact for both Australia and Timor Leste,” Ambassador said.

Data recorded by SEPFOPE, between 2014 and 2018 shows that the total of Seasonal workers on their program is 2,819 in the Hospitality and Horticulture sectors.

From the total number of workers, SEPFOPE has recorded a combined wage-earning of these workers as $9.698.579,15 returning home.

Journalist: Natalino Costa

Editor: Julia Chatarina/Nick Kettle

Translation: Nelia Borges Rosario

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