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Hana Silver from Timor-Leste


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.

You can join the PALM scheme, which includes the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), through a single application.

From April 2022, the process for employers will be further simplified. The SWP and PLS will be combined into a single program, with one set of guidelines and one administering department – the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Worker wellbeing will continue to be central to the PALM scheme, and employers must ensure workers are supported throughout their time living and working in Australia.

Learn more about the PALM scheme.

How is the SWP different to the PLS?

The table below provides a quick summary of the 2 programs.

Program setting Seasonal Worker Programme Pacific Labour Scheme
Length of time Up to 9 months Up to 3 years (minimum 12 months)
Industries Agriculture, accommodation All sectors
Locations Agriculture: Nationally
Accommodation: Mostly in rural and regional Australia
Agriculture: Nationally
All other sectors: Mostly in rural and regional Australia
Skill level Unskilled and low-skilled Low-skilled and semi-skilled
Labour market testing Required Required
Agency Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Age of workers 21 years and over 21 years and over
Partner countries Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

How to become a PALM scheme employer

Your entity or business must undergo a series of eligibility checks to ensure you are reputable, financially sound and operationally able to fulfil the requirements of the scheme.

Step-by-step process for businesses to join the scheme

Process icon 1Step 1: Preparation

  • Understand your requirements and responsibilities under the SWP and/or the PLS. Read the employer guidelines and review the relevant Deed/s of Agreement (see resources linked below).
  • Review the application form to ensure you have gathered all the required information.
  • Ensure you have all documents required for upload prior to completing the online application.
  • Consider the appropriate accommodation, transport and allowable deductions to ensure you meet the required standards.
  • If you have any questions about the SWP, please contact DESE, or if you have queries about the PLS, please contact the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF). Contact details are on this page.


Process icon 1Step 2: Application

  • Complete the application form online and upload all required documents. (You will be prompted throughout the application to complete it successfully and you can stop and save your progress at any time. Please note if your application is incomplete, you will not be able to submit it).
  • Contact DESE (SWP) or the PLF (PLS) if you need help submitting your application.

Process icon 1Step 3: Assessment

  • We assess the financial viability, operations and reputation of your business at this stage to ensure only reputable businesses are engaged in the PALM scheme.
  • As part of this, we will seek information about your business, directors or other entities associated with you from the Department of Home Affairs and other relevant government departments, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
  • We will conduct site visits and interviews at this stage if you are applying to recruit workers with longer-term PLS visas.

Process icon 1Step 4: Approvals

  • You will be notified when the assessment is completed.
  • If your application is successful, you will need to become a temporary activities sponsor (TAS) through the Department of Home Affairs.
  • When you advise us of your TAS details, you will be sent the Deed/s of Agreement (SWP and/or PLS) for signing.
  • Once this is returned and executed by the Commonwealth, you will be approved as a PALM scheme employer and can start the recruitment process.


Process icon 1Step 5: Recruitment plan and labour market testing

  • After checking the relevant state or territory obligations for recruiting, submit a recruitment proposal to gain state or territory approval for the entry of workers into Australia. Once your proposal is approved, you will be advised of available quarantine spaces.
  • Complete your recruitment plan by conducting and submitting valid evidence of your labour market testing activities and demonstrate there are no Australians available to undertake this work.
  • Once all approvals are in place, you can commence recruitment activities with the relevant Pacific or Timor-Leste government labour sending unit/s.

Have questions or need advice?

If you have any queries or need help to understand the application process, please call the SWP information line on (+61 2 6240 5234) or email (

You can also call the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF) on (+61 7 3557 7750) or email (