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 short-term jobs for up to 9 months or long-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.
Staged closure of Pandemic Event (subclass 408) visa
The Australian Government has announced that the Pandemic Event (subclass 408) visa will be closed out in a staged manner by February 2024.
From 2 September 2023, the Pandemic Event (subclass 408) visa will only be open to applications from existing Pandemic Event visa holders. The visa will close to all applicants on 1 February 2024. This may impact PALM scheme workers who hold a Pandemic Event visa as well as their employers.
PALM scheme deed and guidelines and transition advice
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) has undertaken extensive stakeholder consultations on the proposed PALM scheme 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 summarising the final settings is available here, or you can read some frequently asked questions. The final deed and guidelines are available via the links below.
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.
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.