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What new features of the PALM scheme will commence in April 2022?
  • The following key features of the PALM scheme will commence from 4 April 2022:
    • a single PALM scheme visa for seasonal and long-term worker cohorts with
      • extended validity of up to 4 years for long term placements
      • provision for multiple entries
      • the ability for seasonal workers to move from seasonal to long-term work onshore where a relevant role is identified by an employer
      • mandatory offshore periods (3 months out of every 12 for the seasonal cohort and 6 months at the end of a 4-year placement for the long term cohort) to ensure workers have the opportunity to return home to reconnect with family and community
    • removal of recruitment caps for existing employers with a good track record
    • expansion of our regional presence to better connect with industry and improve support to employers and workers including 24 personnel across Australia through the PLF
    • review of worker welfare and assurance measures in May 2022 to identify best practice for inclusion in the new PALM scheme deed and guidelines (to be launched mid 2022)
    • removal of restrictions on sectors able to recruit seasonal workers, meaning all employers with seasonal workforce needs in regional and rural Australia (except agriculture which applies to all of Australia) can apply to access the scheme
    • piloting a new pathway to increase the volume of qualified Pacific and Timor-Leste aged care workers under the PALM scheme, through a partnership between DFAT, the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) and select aged care employers
    • commitment to deliver an improved IT platform alongside the new PALM deed and guidelines which will streamline processes and improve user experience
    • establishment of a red tape reduction working group to meet quarterly to reduce bureaucracy for employers while maintaining strong worker protections. Over time this will include web-based options to enable employers to suggest improvements to administration of the PALM scheme.
  • DFAT issued Notices of Direction under both the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) deeds on 1 April 2022 alongside amended employer guidelines which have been updated to give effect to these changes from 4 April 2022.