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Pacific worker on a tractor

What is the new PALM scheme?

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme streamlines the Australian Government’s labour mobility initiatives, the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).

As part of the scheme, workers from 9 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste can be employed for up to 9 months through the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) – and can return in following years – or between one and 3 years through the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).

To make it easier to become an SWP or PLS employer, or both, the Australian Government has introduced a single application process. This will simplify the process for new employers to join the scheme at a time when demand for overseas workers is continuing to grow in Australia.

In most cases, current eligible SWP and PLS employers 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].

Please monitor this website for further updates on the future of the PALM scheme, the SWP and the PLS.

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.


  • Pacific workers serving soup

The SWP – for short-term (seasonal) workers

A Pacific worker wearing a bucket hat smiles at the camera as they hold up an orange in the foreground

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.