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 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 to support their families and communities.
Australian businesses can access PALM scheme workers by either applying to join the PALM scheme or through a PALM scheme approved labour hire company.
The PALM scheme is changing!
From April 2022, the 2 separate worker visa streams under the PALM scheme - for the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme – will be consolidated and replaced by a single PALM scheme visa with both seasonal (up to 9 months) and longer-term (between one and 4 years) options. The new visa is valid for a longer period of up to 4 years and allows workers to return to Australia multiple times.
Under this new visa, employers will have greater workforce stability and workers will have more time to develop skills and earn money to send home to their families and communities. Employers will also be able to nominate seasonal workers who want to stay longer in Australia for a longer-term visa, and workers can apply to make this change onshore.
Other changes from April 2022 include the removal of recruitment caps for employers with a good track record, relationship manager staff on the ground to cover every Australian state and territory, the removal of restrictions on sectors and industries eligible to participate and further streamlining of processes for employers.
Supporting workers while they are 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 are in place to protect workers, including vetting of employers and stringent criteria for participation, a rigorous monitoring and compliance framework including site visits and spot checks, regular reporting requirements and a support service phone line. Workers are also encouraged and supported to connect to their local communities in rural and regional Australia.