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 agriculture nationally 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.
Building a stronger Pacific and Timor-Leste family
The Australian Government has committed to strengthening Australia's partnerships by reforming the PALM scheme to secure our region and build a stronger Pacific and Timor-Leste family.
The Government will allow employers to sponsor long-term PALM workers to bring their families to Australia in 2023, enable a further 500 PALM scheme workers to complete their aged care certification, and make short term/seasonal deployments more attractive to Australian employers by reducing the burden of upfront travel costs. The Government will also adjust the scheme's settings to reflect key features of the former Australian Agriculture Visa, as part of its relocation under the PALM scheme.
For more information, please read the PALM scheme reforms factsheet [DOCX 126 KB] | PALM scheme reforms factsheet [PDF 152 KB], or the full PALM scheme reforms FAQs [DOCX 396 KB] | PALM scheme reforms FAQs [PDF 343 KB].
Stakeholder consultations: optimising PALM scheme delivery in Australia
The Australian Government has decided to consolidate the domestic (onshore) delivery of the PALM scheme within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). This means, following consultations and planning, gradually transferring the functions and responsibilities that support domestic delivery from the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF) to DEWR.
This transfer aims to provide stronger oversight of the operations of the scheme within the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations' portfolio.
DEWR, in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), is consulting with stakeholders and invites feedback to inform the design of the domestic PALM delivery model.
We invite all users of the scheme to provide their feedback. A discussion paper - Optimising the PALM scheme delivery in Australia - has been developed to seek stakeholder input on the future domestic delivery model for the PALM scheme, ensuring this is informed by the experience of users including approved employers, workers and participating countries.
Please read the discussion paper before submitting feedback. Frequently asked questions are being developed and will be available shortly.
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 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.