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The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme is a demand-driven program that allows Australian employers to hire workers from 9 Pacific islands and Timor-Leste when there are not enough local workers available.

Once approved to recruit workers under the PALM scheme, employers can access workers to fill unskilled, low-skilled, or semi-skilled positions for short-term jobs (up to 9 months) or long-term jobs (between one and 4 years).

PALM scheme employers in the agriculture and select agriculture-related food product manufacturing sectors can be based anywhere in Australia, while for all other sectors employers must be based in a rural or regional location. All PALM scheme employers must undertake labour market testing to ensure Australians have priority for local jobs.

Protecting the rights and wellbeing of all workers

An important part of the PALM scheme recruitment process is demonstrating you can provide adequate support and appropriate living and working conditions for workers.

All Pacific and Timor-Leste workers participating in the PALM scheme are entitled to the same protections and have the same workplace rights as Australian workers.

Learn more about how to best support your workers.

  • Strawberry picker
  • Approvals stage

    • Step 01.

      PALM scheme employer completes the recruitment application at least 8 weeks prior to mobilisation including the submission of labour market testing and accommodation forms.

    • Step 02.

      Labour sending unit (LSU) considers recruitment application or seeks further information.

      Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) assesses recruitment application for approval.

      Employer works with LSU to identify recruitment needs.

    • Step 03.

      DEWR provides PALM scheme recruitment approval number for recruitment application (single endorsement number). Approval to recruit is also sent to the LSU.

    • Step 04.

      Employer undertakes recruitment selection process. 

      Employer/LSU confirm mobilisation date (minimum 5 weeks).

      Employer conducts interviews and completes selection process, then provides offers of employment (OOE) to LSU for selected candidates and commences travel arrangements.

  • Mobilisation stage


    • Step 05.

      LSU arranges information sessions for workers and their families.

      Employer explains OOEs to workers.

      Workers sign their OOEs.

    • Step 06.

      LSU collects required documents (signed OOE, colour passport bio page, signed privacy and consent form, 956a form, 403 visa application form, police certificate, vaccination records) and sends to approved employer.

    • Step 07.

      Employer applies and pays for worker visas in Home Affairs IMMI system.

    • Step 08.

      Home Affairs provides HAP ID to IMMI account.

      Employer provides HAP IDs to LSU (Samoa and Tonga exempt).

    • Step 9.

      LSU assists workers to make medical assessment bookings (must have HAP ID) and chest x-rays if required.

    • Step 10.

      Panel doctor uploads medical results to Home Affairs IMMI account.

    • Step 11.

      LSU conducts pre-departure training on topics such as Australian law, employer/worker roles and responsibilities, deductions and living in Australia.

      Employer provides additional information on accommodation, travel plans and arrival.

    • Step 12.

      Home Affairs grants worker visas or requests more information.

    • Step 13.

      Employer finalises travel documents and sends to LSU, finalises worker induction program.

    • Step 14.

      LSU provides workers with travel documentation (itinerary, tickets, copies of passports, visas and OOE).

    • Step 15.

      Workers travel to Australia.

    Unsuccessful visa applicants:

    LSU/employer/agents undertake process of identifying replacement workers and return to step 5.