The Seasonal Worker Programme offers employers in the agriculture sector and employers in selected locations in the accommodation sector access to a reliable, returning workforce when there is not enough local Australian labour to meet seasonal demand.

Community Connections Budget Funding

As announced in the 2020-2021 Budget, the Government will boost community connections by providing funding of $1 million over two years to strengthen the connection of Pacific workers with local community groups in worker locations, including hosting recreational activities and providing ongoing supplementary support to workers. This will be done through a tender process before the end of 2020, with contract commencement in early 2021.

The new measures will ensure the SWP continues to have sufficient integrity measures to protect the welfare of SWP workers and provide the support and additional education for employers who participate on the program.
 

Programme objectives

There are 2 main objectives for the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP):

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Seasonal Workers Programme_Programme Objectives

Information for employers

If you want to participate in the program, there are certain requirements you will need to meet. Learn about:

  • Eligibility
  • Countries you can recruit from
  • Recruitment process
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Harvest Trail Services_Employer responsibilities

Information for Approved Employers

A list of current Approved Employers can be found in the link below. Resources for Approved Employers include:

  • Guidelines
  • Privacy factsheet
  • Checklists
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Seasonal Workers Programme_Covid-19 changes

Information for workers

If you want to participate in the program, you will need to:

  • Check your eligibility 
  • Contact your Labour Sending Unit (LSU)
  • Have a valid visa
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Harvest - Relocation assistance

Pacific Labour Mobility Safeguarding the Welfare of Workers

On the 6 October 2020, the Pacific Labour Mobility Safeguarding the Welfare of Workers package was announced. Key features include:

  • Investing $9 million to support the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and welfare of Pacific and Timorese workers.
  • Pacific Labour Mobility Officers will be based around Australia to check welfare, monitoring, compliance and accommodation.

COVID-19 changes

In response to COVID-19, on 4 April 2020, temporary changes to visa arrangements for the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) were announced. These would:

  • Allow Pacific workers under the SWP and the Pacific Labour Scheme to continue working in the agriculture sector until the crisis has passed.
  • Let workers with new visas remain in Australia and continue working for up to 12 months.
  • Continue the sponsorship arrangements between Pacific workers and their employers.

See the Minister’s media release.

Regional Pilot

The Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) Regional Pilot helps smaller farmers meet workforce shortages. It applies in:

  • Sunraysia (NSW/Victoria);
  • Goulburn/Murray (Victoria);
  • Riverina (NSW); and
  • Wimmera/Mallee (Victoria) – with effect from 1 January 2020

See the Regional Pilot factsheet for further information.

For Approved Employers in the SWP Regional Pilot, see SWP Pilot Guidance.

Worker Portability Pilot

With the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) – Worker Portability Pilot, Approved Employers can share seasonal workers. This applies to the regions:

  • Sunraysia (NSW/Victoria);
  • Goulburn/Murray (Victoria);
  • Riverina (NSW); and
  • Wimmera/Mallee (Victoria) – with effect from 1 January 2020

This Pilot will run till 30 June 2022.

See the SWP Portability Pilot - Information Sheet.
 

Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme

The Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme, complements the Seasonal Worker Programme.

It helps meet business needs across all sectors in rural and regional Australia.

See the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.

 

Contact

Email: seasonalworker@dese.gov.au.

Call the information line: +61 (02) 6240 5234 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, Canberra time).

View temporary visa information on the Department of Home Affairs.