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  • A man in high visibility shirt standing in front of a green house.
Case study - Timorese workers in Australia
How the PALM scheme helped Alberto develop new skills and send money back to Timor-Leste

Alberto credits the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme with helping him turn his life around.

Back in Timor-Leste, he struggled to support his wife and 4 children, so he took on difficult and risky jobs unloading cargo from ships on the harbour.

He says he was fortunate to be selected to work in Australia for a season in 2018/2019 under the Seasonal Worker Programme. He then took on a longer contract as part of the Pacific Labour Scheme and has spent 2 years working as a housekeeper and cook assistant at Hillwood Berries Farmgate in Tasmania.

Alberto says he enjoys his job, where he has picked up valuable workplace and leadership skills, all while saving money to build a house for his family and buy motorbikes for transport.

A Timorese man in an orange high-visibility shirt stands in front of a green house.
Alberto has helped his family build a home in Timor-Leste.

He has also fulfilled his family duty as the eldest son to build a good resting place for his father.

Despite an initial difficulty understanding the Australian accent, Alberto says he now has improved English language skills and a greater understanding of Australian culture.

"It was very difficult to pick up what my employer and supervisors said the first time I arrived," he says.

"Sometimes when they asked something, I answered something else. But I wanted to be true to them. If I did not understand what they said I asked them to speak slowly, or to repeat or to explain it in a simpler way."

Throughout his time in Tasmania, Alberto has been able to build a relationship of mutual trust with his employer.

He says his employer provides him with good accommodation and a car to facilitate his work. He has been placed in charge of supervising the accommodation of other workers and helps his colleagues by driving them to the farm when they miss the bus. 

Alberto has picked up new cooking skills and is able to use a wide range of equipment in the kitchen. He has also taken on the responsibility of briefing new workers on the operation of the commercial kitchen.

"I am enjoying my job. My employer does not give me much pressure on my work because I never abandon my duties," he says.

"At times, my supervisor lets me do my work without supervision, it is his way to increase his trust in me. I always try to work responsibly and with honesty."

When he returns home, Alberto hopes to start a brick-making business to sustain his family during his retirement.