Frequently asked questions about the Pacific Labour Scheme

  • Start date: Ongoing (commenced on 1 July 2018)
  • Length of time workers can stay in Australia: Up to 3 years (minimum of 12 months)
  • Industries: All sectors in rural and regional Australia with an initial focus on accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, and non-seasonal agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Locations: Rural and regional Australia
  • Skill level: Low- and semi-skilled (ANZSCO Level 4, with Levels 3 and 5 in scope)
  • Labour market testing: Required
  • Worker support services: Pastoral care, including a 24 hour hotline provided by the Pacific Labour Facility.
  • Visa class: 403 (International Relations) — Employer sponsorship required
  • Responsible agency: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Administered by: Pacific Labour Facility and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Age of workers: 21-45 years
  • Annual cap on participants: The Scheme has been uncapped to enable demand from Australian employers and our Pacific neighbours to drive the growth of the Scheme
  • Partner countries: Currently Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have signed MOUs to access to the Scheme.

What is the Pacific Labour Scheme?

The Scheme enables citizens of partner countries to take up low and semi-skilled work opportunities in rural and regional Australia for up to three years.

Is the Pacific Labour Scheme the same as the Seasonal Worker Programme?

The Scheme complements the existing Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) which, since 2012 has given more than 31,000 seasonal jobs to workers from the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

What is labour market testing?

The Scheme puts Australian job-seekers first. Employers under the Scheme must first advertise jobs in Australia and demonstrate that there are no Australian workers before accessing workers under the Scheme.

What support do workers receive under the Pacific Labour Scheme?

All participating workers have the same rights and protections as Australian workers. The Pacific Labour Facility provides a range of support services to assist workers including:

  • connecting workers, employers and training institutions;
  • providing education on financial literacy, including banking services, remittance transfers, tax returns, and access to superannuation benefits (when their visa has ceased);
  • accessing affordable accommodation and appropriate living arrangements for workers;
  • facilitating the introduction of workers to their local communities, including their local diaspora communities;
  • a 24/7 information hotline for employers and workers; and
  • monitoring the impact of labour mobility programs, both in Australia and in Pacific countries, to improve support provided to workers.

How do I get involved in the Pacific Labour Scheme?

Employers that wish to access the Scheme will need to be accredited as an Approved Employer by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Employer Self-Assessment Eligibility Checklist will help you to determine whether your business fulfils the minimum requirements of the Scheme. Employers will also need to be a Temporary Activities Sponsor with the Department of Home Affairs.

Current Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) Approved Employers can apply to join the Scheme, but will need to undergo the Scheme Approved Employer assessment process.

Further questions should be directed to: enquiries@pacificlabourfacility.com.au

Last Updated: 9 April 2019