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Application to become a Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme approved employer

Before applying:

1. Consider which cohort of workers is right for your business - short-term workers, long-term workers or a combination of the 2.

Organisations, including labour hire entities, contractors, growers, and trusts, can apply to become Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme employers.

Contractors and labour hire entities must have been operating as a labour hire or contracting company for the previous 5 consecutive years to participate in the PALM scheme. All applicants must have a record of compliance with applicable Commonwealth, state, and territory laws to be eligible.

Short-term employment (up to 9 months)

Employers can recruit workers for unskilled, low-skilled or semi-skilled seasonal roles for up to 9 months through the PALM scheme when there is not enough local labour available.

Long-term employment (one to 4 years)

Employers looking for a longer-term solution can recruit workers for unskilled, low-skilled or semi-skilled roles for between one and 4 years through the PALM scheme 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 located in an area with a postcode that is eligible under the PALM scheme (refer to 'Location' section below)
  • 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 entity
  • 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 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.

The applicant must also demonstrate it understands and will comply with the requirements of becoming a PALM scheme employer (as outlined in the PALM scheme Approved Employer Deed of Agreement and PALM scheme Approved Employer Guidelines).

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


Eligibility for employers seeking to recruit workers though the PALM scheme is based on rural and regional postcodes, except for employers in the agriculture and select agriculture-related food product manufacting sectors, where there are no postcode restrictions.

This means the employer will be eligible if the work site where they are applying to recruit workers is located within an eligible rural or regional postcode. The full list of eligible postcodes is available on the PALM scheme employer eligibility web page.

Pay parity

All PALM scheme employers will be required by the PALM scheme deed and guidelines to pay workers the same full rate of pay attached to the relevant classification in the applicable Fair Work instrument if workers are performing the same type of work and engaged at the same site as other employees. PALM scheme employers seeking to recruit workers in the scheme will be required to demonstrate pay parity in their recruitment application by ensuring that the wages of PALM scheme workers will be at the same pay level as other workers in the same role on the same site with the same level of experience.




3. Complete all steps of the application.

To participate as a PALM scheme 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 activities 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 PALM scheme Approved Employer Deed of Agreement.
  4. Employ workers under the PALM scheme, in accordance with obligations imposed under the deed, applicable program guidelines and the temporary activities sponsorship.

Once approved, applicants enter into a deed of agreement with the Australian Government through the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) and enter a sponsorship arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs.

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

PALM scheme employers must have DEWR’s written approval to participate in the program and recruit workers prior to seasonal workers commencing a placement. The employer can seek a review of their recruitment cap when workers have been recruited for 4 months and changes will be made where appropriate.

DEWR will monitor PALM scheme employers during each placement to ensure compliance with program requirements.

Processing times

Currently the process is taking at least 3 months (once all documentation has 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 to become a PALM scheme employer twice in any 12-month period from the date of submitting their first application.

If an applicant is not approved as a PALM scheme employer 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 a PALM scheme employer.

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 demonstrates 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.

DEWR 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.


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 DEWR 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, DEWR will close the application.


Please ensure you carefully read points 1-5 above, and prepare all the information and documents you need before starting your application.

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'.

For data security reasons, it is not possible to save drafts of your answers in the online form, so you will need to allow enough time to complete the application in one sitting.

Need help?

If you are unsure about requirements to become a PALM scheme employer, please email (

Incomplete applications

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