All over the world closed country borders are impacting the ability for industries which have relied on temporary workers and backpacker labour from overseas to thrive and grow.
The negative impact of COVID on economies across the globe is continuing to be of serious concern for private business owners, workers and governments alike as breakouts of the devastating virus force countries all over the world to enter cycles of lockdown.
According to Tammy Kassiou, founder and chair of International Mobility Services (IMS), the only way forward is to create a worker mobility vaccination passport to enable people to start traveling across country borders.
Themelina Kassiou, affectionately known as Tammy Kassiou, is the business woman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist behind the leading, multinational training, worker mobilisation and skills development company International Mobility Services (IMS). Kassiou emphasises that the way forward for the private sector is to demonstrate resilience and leadership during periods of workforce shortage by continuing to build upon and utilise international employment connections. Intuition and vigorous leadership is also necessary.
“The concept of a worker mobility vaccination passport is desperately needed to help industries get back on their feet. We urgently need a system that recognises the need for workers to travel across country borders for work purposes,” Kassiou said.
“This type of passport could be easily created as part of countries’ multi-lateral relations and include specific requirements for worker related travel. The requirements for the passport would be agreed by the participating countries.”
Kassiou has outlined the types of attributes a worker mobility vaccination passport could include.
Digital worker mobility passport
The worker mobility vaccination passport, known as a WMVP would be a digital passport that is accessible through government created and maintained apps.
The passport would be linked to a person’s normal passport. The WMVP would be accessible by participating country governments only.
The WMVP would require workers to have received certain vaccinations considered acceptable by each country and the validity of the vaccinations would be within a specific date period. Additionally, booster vaccinations would also be required.
COVID safe training
Recipients of the WMVP would be required to undergo agreed COVID safe workplace training to ensure workers are aware of their responsibilities and required protocols involving COVID safe work practices.
“The reality is we are going to be living with COVID for several years to come. We cannot wait around pretending that COVID will go away – as it won’t. We need to act and act fast,” Kassiou said.
“While governments are talking about travel passports, the reality is that we need a specific type of worker mobility vaccination passport that takes into consideration the special and essential needs of people traveling across country borders for work. The WMVP will address these requirements.
“Countries and businesses need high levels of assurance around the management and flow of people across borders.
“Currently our business has trained up and has hundreds of workers across Timor-Leste and Vanuatu through our partnership with Vanuatu Pathways, who are ready to travel to Australia to assist businesses across the horticultural sectors and others.
“Australian farmers are on their knees because they can’t get enough workers to help manage their fields and farms. Fast-tracking the set up and implementation of a special purpose passport for workers would solve a lot of issues.
“Agriculture, aged care and the hospitality and tourism sectors are some of the worst affected industries as they annually rely on backpackers and international employees on temporary working visas to make up more than a third of their labour force.
“We urgently need governments across the region to come together and nut about solutions and the WMVP is a good idea that can be developed and implemented quickly.”
Currently located in Dili, Timor-Leste, Themelina Kassiou (Tammy Kassiou), leads and manages her companies across multiple countries and also provides mentoring for many emerging leaders in her industry.
Tammy Kassiou is the founder and chairperson of Philotimo Group, a global business which overarches a number of complementary businesses that provide leadership, expertise and services across the training and job placement sector to a broad range of industries in multiple countries including: Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Pacific Islands, Philippines, Mozambique, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Greece and Europe.