The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Seasonal Worker Program (PALM – SWP) allows Pacific nationals to work in Australia for up to nine months in the agriculture sector where farmers cannot secure local labour.
The PALM – SWP program provides economic benefits to Australia by easing the impact of farm labour shortages and to Pacific countries by providing a source of remittance income.
Labor will make PALM – SWP more attractive to Australian farmers and Pacific workers. We will tackle the exploitation and mistreatment of temporary migrant workers which has been undermining the reputation of Australia’s Pacific labour mobility programs in Pacific countries.
Labor’s reforms to the PALM – SWP program include:
Labor will also improve workplace standards for PALM – SWP visa holders by increasing workplace compliance activities and implementing the recommendations of the Migrant Worker Taskforce, including:
The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Pacific Labour Scheme program (PALM – PLS) allows Pacific nationals to work in Australia for between one and four years in rural and regional Australia.
At present Pacific workers under the PALM – PLS are not allowed to bring family members to Australia. Labor will allow primary visa holders in the PALM – PLS to bring their partners and children to Australia. This is designed to boost participation in PALM – PLS, increasing its benefits to Pacific nations and Australian employers. The expansion would bring the PALM – PLS into line with Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visas.
The same conditions applying to TSS family members would apply to PLS family members:
The changes would apply to PALM – PLS workers but not to PALM – SWP workers, reflecting the longer stays of PLS workers in Australia. The policy will commence in January 2023.
We will relocate the proposed Agriculture Visa to sit as a third visa stream under the PALM. This will create a robust and sustainable four-year visa, with portability, strong oversight mechanisms, protections and rights for workers.
These protections will be consistent with the protections under the PALM-PLS and PALM-SWP. This will complement the PALM-SWP by providing a visa allowing Pacific workers to return to Australia each harvest season for up to four years.
Labor will boost permanent migration from Pacific countries to Australia by creating a new Pacific Engagement Visa for nationals of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste.
Up to 3,000 visas would be allocated annually by a ballot or lottery process modelled on the New Zealand Pacific Access Resident Category visa.
Places would be allocated from within the overall permanent migration program. Detailed design of the scheme will be undertaken in Government based on the following features of the NZ model:
Applications will be open to Pacific nationals in their home countries or who are in Australia on a valid temporary visa. The program will commence in July 2023.