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Application to become a Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme approved employer

Before submitting an application:

1. Consider which program is right for your business - seasonal, longer term or a combination of the two.

Organisations, including labour hire entities, contractors, growers, and trusts, can apply to become Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) approved employers, Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) approved employers, or both. Contractors and labour hire entities must have been in operation for the previous 5 consecutive years to participate in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. All applicants must have a record of compliance with applicable Commonwealth, state, and territory laws to be eligible.


Short-term (seasonal) employment (up to 9 months)

Employers in the agriculture sector and in the accommodation sector (in mostly regional and rural areas) can recruit workers for unskilled and low-skilled seasonal roles for up to 9 months through the SWP when there is not enough local labour available.

Longer-term employment (one to 3 years)

Rural, and regional employers looking for a longer-term solution can express their interest in recruiting workers for low-skilled and semi-skilled roles for between one and 3 years through the PLS when there are not enough local workers available.

Find out more about the PALM scheme for employers.

2. Consider whether you are eligible to join the PALM scheme.


To become an approved PALM scheme employer, an applicant must demonstrate that it:
  • is an eligible business registered and operating in Australia and has an Australian Business Number (ABN) and/or an Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • is NOT an individual, sole trader or unincorporated company
  • is an ‘organisation’ for the purposes of the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Department of Home Affairs will assess this criterion)
  • has good immigration practices and a history of compliance with immigration legislation (the Department of Home Affairs will conduct an immigration integrity check)
  • has a history of compliance with Australian workplace relations, work health and safety legislation, and other relevant laws (the Fair Work Ombudsman will prepare a workplace compliance history check)
  • can demonstrate that its directors, partners, or trustees have a history of compliance with the above laws (noting where there has been non-compliance, this must be disclosed, and non-disclosure can result in the application being rejected)
  • has or can obtain a labour hire license if applicable (not required for direct employers)
  • is in a sound financial position a financial viability assessment will be conducted to determine if the business can meet the upfront costs associated with recruiting seasonal workers including:
    • at least 3 years* of financial solvency for a direct employer
    • and at least 3 years* of financial solvency and 5 years* of continuous operation—for a labour hire/contractor employer.
* Entities who can demonstrate a continuing of business may be considered for a waiver from these requirements on a case by case basis. Please contact the Pacific Labour Facility to discuss on (+61 7 3557 7750) or email (enquiries@pacificlabourfacility.com.au).


The applicant must also demonstrate it understands and will comply with the requirements of becoming an approved employer (as outlined in the SWP and PLS deeds and approved employer guidelines).

If an approved employer provides information in its application that is incorrect, dishonest, or misleading, this may result in the Australian Government rejecting the application.

3. Complete all steps of the application.


To participate in the SWP or PLS as an approved employer, all applicants must successfully complete a 4-step application process:

  1. Complete this application form and click submit.

  2. If the application is successful, apply to become a temporary activity sponsor (TAS) through the Department of Home Affairs. Businesses must be approved as a TAS to be able to sponsor workers from participating countries to come to Australia.

  3. Enter into a Deed of Agreement/s.

  4. Employ workers under the SWP or PLS, in accordance with obligations imposed under the Deed/s of Agreement, applicable program guidelines and the temporary activities sponsorship.

Seasonal Worker Programme

Once approved, applicants enter into a Deed of Agreement with the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and enter a sponsorship arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs.

New SWP approved employers are generally approved to recruit only a small number of seasonal workers for their first placement (known as a ‘recruitment cap’). This provides new SWP approved employers the opportunity to adjust to their obligations and responsibilities while working with a manageable number of seasonal workers in their first placement.

SWP approved employers must have DFAT’s written approval to participate in the program and recruit workers prior to seasonal workers commencing a placement. DFAT and the PLF will monitor SWP approved employers during each placement to ensure compliance with program requirements. The recruitment cap will be reviewed at the end of the placement and changes will be made where appropriate.

Pacific Labour Scheme

Once approved, applicants enter into a Deed of Agreement with the Australian Government through DFAT and enter into a sponsorship arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs.
DFAT and the PLF will monitor PLS employers during each placement to ensure compliance with program requirements.

Processing times

Currently the process is taking at least 3 months (once all documentation hsa been provided), plus the time required to obtain your TAS from the Department of Home Affairs.

To ensure the timely processing of an application, entities are encouraged to provide all requested information and to respond to questions fully and truthfully at the time of submission.

Number of applications in any 12-month period

An applicant may only apply for approved employer status in the SWP or the PLS twice in any 12-month period from the date of submitting their first application.

If an applicant does not achieve approved employer status within 12 months of the date of applying, its application will lapse. The applicant will then need to submit a new application if it remains interested in becoming an approved employer for the SWP or PLS.

4. Review the single application form reference guide and ensure you have the required documents.


Employer application form - reference only (Word and PDF versions)
 

Financial information

It is important the applicant demonstrate they are financially sound, sustainable and have the finances in place to cover the upfront and ongoing costs of engaging the requested number of workers.

If the financial information requested is incomplete or does not demonstrate compliance with the requirements, the application could be delayed or not accepted.

If these financial statements do not demonstrate access to sufficient funds to meet the upfront or ongoing costs, other documentation may be requested.

Please note:
Financial information provided should be for the applicant that is applying to be the approved employer. If this is a trust, the statements should be for the trust and not the trustee.


Required documents

For direct employers, copies of the last 3 years of financial statements for the business prepared by an external accountant. We do not accept business activity statements (BAS), income tax returns, valuation reports and bank statements.

For labour hire companies or contractors, copies of the last 5 years of financial statements prepared by an external accountant, to evidence continuous operation in the industry you are applying for.

We do not accept BAS, income tax returns, valuation reports and bank statements.

The PLF considers a full set of financial statements to be made up of the following:

- statement of financial position (also known as the balance sheet)
- statement of profit or loss (which may include a statement of retained  earnings, or this may be included as a separate statement)
- statement of cash flows
- notes to the financial statements.


Applicants should not include financial statements for related entities unless there is a legal financial obligation between the entities (e.g., a deed of cross guarantee). Evidence, such as a copy of the guarantee, will need to be provided otherwise the related entity information will not be considered.
 

Trusts

If the applicant is applying as a trustee for a trust, a copy of the trust deed must also be supplied.

5. Respond to requests for additional information if required.


Should DFAT or the PLF require further information to complete the assessment, the applicant will be sent a request for information via email, outlining additional information required and stating a closing date for response.

If the applicant does not respond to the request for information prior to the closing date, the PLF will close the application.

Instructions


Please ensure you carefully read points 1-5 above, and have all the information and documents you need before starting your application. For data security reasons, it is not possible to save drafts of your form, so you will need to allow enough time to complete the application in one sitting.

Please state all answers clearly and provide detailed information when lodging the application. Finally, please check all parts of the application form are completed before you press 'submit'.

Need help?

If you are unsure what is required to become an SWP or PLS approved employer, please call (+61 7 3557 7750) or email (enquiries@pacificlabourfacility.com.au).

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications may not be assessed. Please ensure all parts of the application form are completed.

If the applicant is a trust, a copy of the trust deed must be supplied.