Pacific Seasonal Workers: Learning from the Contrasting Temporary Migration Outcomes in Australian and New Zealand Horticulture

Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Issue 3, Volume 5, pages 462-480

Crawford School Research Paper

19 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2019

See all articles by Richard Curtain

Richard Curtain

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre

Matthew Dornan

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Stephen Howes

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Henry Sherrell

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre

Date Written: September 22, 2018

Abstract

“Crowding out” is a widely accepted claim in migration analysis, which posits that the preference of profit‐maximising employers for irregular and minimally regulated migrants overregulated alternatives will undermine, if not condemn to failure, well‐regulated temporary migration schemes. In this paper, we test the crowding out hypothesis by examining the experience with well‐regulated seasonal migrant worker programs in the horticultural sectors of Australia and New Zealand. This experience, which in both countries has involved recruitment of workers from the Pacific Islands, has been divergent, despite the two programs being similar in design. Our findings suggest that the relative attractiveness of regulated and unregulated migrant labour sources depends on a range of factors, including the export orientation of the sector, the costs of collective action and regulation, differences in policy design and implementation, and external factors. Depending on industry and economy‐wide characteristics, quality and reputational benefits for employers can offset the cost of regulation.

Keywords: horticulture, labour mobility, Pacific island countries, public policy, seasonal workers

Suggested Citation

Curtain, Richard and Dornan, Matthew and Howes, Stephen and Sherrell, Henry, Pacific Seasonal Workers: Learning from the Contrasting Temporary Migration Outcomes in Australian and New Zealand Horticulture (September 22, 2018). Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Issue 3, Volume 5, pages 462-480; Crawford School Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3264465

Richard Curtain

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

Matthew Dornan (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://crawford.anu.edu.au/crawford_people/content/staff/mdornan.php

Stephen Howes

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Henry Sherrell

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

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