The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme allows eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from 9 Pacific islands and Timor-Leste when there are not enough local workers available.
Through the PALM scheme, eligible businesses can recruit workers for seasonal jobs for up to 9 months or for longer-term roles for between one and 4 years in unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled positions.
The PALM scheme helps to fill labour gaps in rural and regional Australia and nationally for agriculture and select agriculture-related food product manufacturing sectors by offering employers access to a pool of reliable, productive workers. It also allows Pacific and Timor-Leste workers to take up jobs in Australia, develop their skills and send income home.
PALM scheme announcements – Federal Budget 2023-24
In its 2023-24 Budget, delivered on 9 May, the Australian Government announced its commitment to further expand and improve the PALM scheme.
In summary, the Australian Government will:
- strengthen oversight of domestic operations as part of improved support for PALM scheme workers
- responsibly grow the PALM scheme and better support employers and participating countries
- support more than 1,000 PALM scheme workers to attain formal qualifications over 4 years
- increase support to make it easier for PALM scheme workers to access their superannuation savings when they return home
- provide access to Medicare for an initial 200 families who will participate in the Government's family accompaniment pilot.
Further information on the 2023-24 Budget outcomes relevant to the PALM scheme is available in the PALM scheme factsheet and frequently asked questions documents.
PALM scheme approved employer deed and guidelines final settings and transition advice
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) has undertaken extensive stakeholder consultations on the proposed PALM scheme approved employer deed and guidelines, which is the final step in consolidating the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) into the single PALM scheme.
The feedback has been considered and the key settings of the PALM scheme have been finalised and approved by the government. A fact sheet that includes a summary of the key final settings is available here. The PALM scheme approved employer deed and guidelines will be effective from July 2023.
In preparation for the implementation of the single PALM scheme deed in July 2023, DEWR issued Transition Advice No 1 on Friday, 2 June to approved employers with SWP and/or PLS deeds.
Please visit DEWR’s PALM scheme approved employer deed and guidelines webpage for more information, or contact (PALMconsultations@dewr.gov.au) if you have any questions.
Want to join the PALM scheme as an employer?
If you are an Australian business needing additional workers you may be able to source them through the PALM scheme. You will need to check your eligibility and the requirements you will need to meet.
Australian businesses can access PALM scheme workers either by applying to become an approved employer or recruiting through an approved PALM scheme labour hire company.
Learn more about becoming an approved employer.
Want to join the PALM scheme as a worker?
If you are a resident of one of the participating countries and want to apply to join the PALM scheme, you will need to check your eligibility and contact your country’s labour sending unit.
Learn more about signing up as a worker.
Supporting workers while they are living in Australia
The wellbeing of Pacific and Timor-Leste workers in Australia is of the highest priority for the Australian Government. All participating workers have the same rights and protections as Australian workers.
A range of measures is in place to protect workers, including stringent employer vetting, a rigorous monitoring and compliance framework, regular spot checks and a support service phone line. Workers are also encouraged and supported to connect to their local communities across Australia.
Learn more about PALM scheme employers' obligations to ensure workers are supported.