The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme allows Australian businesses to hire workers from 9 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste when there are not enough local workers available.
There are currently 2 streams: the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) for workers for up to 9 months - with the ability to return in following years, and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) for workers for between 1 and 3 years.
Businesses can apply to become approved and recruit under either or both programs depending on their employment needs, provided they meet eligibility criteria. Apply to become an approved employer using this online application form.
From April 2022, the SWP and PLS will be consolidated and replaced by an improved and more flexible PALM scheme. For more information, please read the PALM scheme media release [DOCX 41 KB] | PALM scheme media release [PDF 122 KB], or the PALM scheme fact sheet [DOCX 50 KB] | PALM scheme fact sheet [PDF 119 KB].
Please monitor this website for further updates as we get closer to the new scheme commencing.
Benefits that flow both ways
Pacific Australia labour mobility is highly valued by Australia and the Pacific, helping Australian businesses address workforce shortages and supporting the economic growth of Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste.
Labour mobility is central to Australia’s engagement with the Pacific and Timor-Leste, providing jobs for Pacific and Timorese workers and enabling them to develop skills, earn income and support their families and communities back home.
Through the PALM scheme, links are also created between people, businesses, and communities, fostering deeper connections between Australia and its neighbours.
The SWP – for short-term (seasonal) workers
The SWP is managed by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).
It allows low-skilled and unskilled Pacific and Timorese workers to work in Australia for up to 9 months.
This gives employers in the agriculture sector and in accommodation sector (in mostly regional and rural areas) access to reliable seasonal labour when Australian workers are not available.
The PLS – for longer-term workers
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade connects Australian employers with low-skilled and semi-skilled workers through the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF), which supports the administration of the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).
The PLS allows Pacific and Timorese workers to stay in Australia for between one and 3 years, giving agriculture employers nationally and rural and regional employers in any other sector, access to labour when they cannot fill jobs locally.