Seasonal Worker Programme

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.

Introducing the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme is the Australian Government's new, streamlined approach to its highly valued Pacific labour mobility initiatives.

The PALM scheme allows eligible employers to recruit workers from 9 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste when there are not enough Australian workers available.

There are 2 initiatives in the PALM scheme: the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) for jobs up to 9 months and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) for jobs between one and 3 years.

SWP workers can be employed in the agriculture sector across Australia. In the accommodation sector SWP workers can work jobs based mostly in rural and regional areas. Through the PLS, workers can be employed in the agriculture sector nationally and in rural and regional Australia in all other sectors.

Read the PALM scheme media release: A new era for Pacific Australia labour mobility.

Image
Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme includes both the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme

Programme objectives

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

Image
Seasonal Workers Programme_Programme Objectives

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
Image
Seasonal Workers Programme_Covid-19 changes

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
Image
Harvest Trail Services_Employer responsibilities

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
Image
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.