Introducing the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme
The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme is the Australian Government's new, streamlined approach to its highly valued Pacific labour mobility initiatives.
The PALM scheme allows eligible employers to recruit workers from 9 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste when there are not enough Australian workers available.
There are 2 initiatives in the PALM scheme: the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) for jobs up to 9 months and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) for jobs between one and 3 years.
SWP workers can be employed in the agriculture sector across Australia. In the accommodation sector SWP workers can work jobs based mostly in rural and regional areas. Through the PLS, workers can be employed in the agriculture sector nationally and in rural and regional Australia in all other sectors.
Benefits for both employers and workers
The PALM scheme helps to address workforce shortages and provides Australian employers with access to a pool of reliable, productive workers to meet their labour needs.
By providing Pacific and Timorese workers with jobs, income and the chance to increase their skills, the scheme also supports the economic growth of our neighbouring countries.
Read the PALM scheme media release: A new era for Pacific Australia labour mobility.
A single application to join the PALM scheme
New employers can now join both the SWP and PLS simultaneously through an improved PALM scheme single application process.
In most cases, current eligible employers for the SWP and the PLS will now be able to recruit under either SWP or PLS arrangements, or both. For more information, please read the mutual recognition FAQs: Frequently asked questions on mutual recognition [PDF 203 KB] | Frequently asked questions on mutual recognition [DOCX 214 KB].
Response to consultation
The PALM scheme will continue to improve and grow in response to suggestions received from stakeholders during a public consultation process held in June and July 2021. Read the consultation report for more information: Pacific labour mobility consultation summary [DOCX 106 KB] | Pacific labour mobility consultation summary [PDF 366 KB].
As an initial response to this feedback, some changes and new flexibilities have been introduced to benefit both workers and employers. For more information, please read this document: PALM scheme fact sheet [PDF 303 KB] | PALM scheme fact sheet [DOCX 207 KB].
Please monitor this website for updates on further enhancements and future arrangements for the PALM scheme, the SWP and the PLS.
Key information for employers
The PALM scheme supports businesses that operate largely in rural and regional areas of Australia to address their workforce shortages.
New employers can apply to join both programs through the PALM scheme single application process.
If you are an employer and want to participate in the PALM scheme, you must meet some important requirements. Find out more about:
Key information for workers
If you are a resident of one of the 10 participating countries and want to join the PALM scheme as a worker, you will need to:
- check your eligibility
- contact your country’s labour sending unit
- obtain a valid visa.
Stay up to date on COVID-19 information
In response to COVID-19, the Australian Government introduced temporary changes to visa arrangements for affected SWP and PLS workers. These changes allow Pacific and Timorese workers to continue working in Australia during the pandemic.
For information on how to stay in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Department of Home Affairs COVID-19 website. Or, for general health advice and information about COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health website.
Supporting workers while they are in Australia
The wellbeing of Pacific and Timorese workers while they are living and working in Australia is of the highest priority for the Australian Government. All workers participating in the PALM scheme have the same rights and protections as Australian workers, and there is zero tolerance for exploitation.