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].
Optimising PALM scheme delivery in Australia
The Australian Government conducted consultations on consolidating the domestic (onshore) delivery of the PALM scheme within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR).
A discussion paper, Optimising the PALM scheme delivery in Australia, sought 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, industry representatives, unions, community members and participating countries.
The discussion paper closed for submissions on 13 January 2023.
DEWR is considering feedback and focusing on managing the gradual transfer of existing onshore delivery services from the Pacific Labour Facility while maintaining the integrity of the scheme.
DEWR and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to provide updates to all key stakeholders.
A copy of the presentation provided to key stakeholders is available for your information.
Frequently asked questions are also available for your information, based on the questions received during virtual and face to face consultation sessions.
Please contact (PALMconsultations@dewr.gov.au) if you have any further questions.
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.