What is Pacific labour mobility and how does it work?

The Australian Government has two labour mobility initiatives – the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme. They enable approved employers to recruit workers from Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste, when local labour is not available.

Seasonal Worker Programme

Employers in rural and regional parts of Australia can recruit workers from 9 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste for unskilled or low-skilled roles through the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) for up to 9 months.

Pacific Labour Scheme

Through the PLS, Australian rural and regional employers can recruit workers from 9 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste for low-skilled and semi-skilled roles for between one and 3 years. Read more about the PLS in the policy handbook below.

PLS policy handbook [pdf] | PLS policy handbook [Word]

Which countries are involved?

Workers from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu can apply for employment in Australia through the SWP and the PLS.

All workers participating in Pacific labour mobility initiatives are protected by the same workplace and health and safety laws as Australian workers.


A Pacific island worker with an aged care facility resident

Benefits that flow three ways

Through Pacific labour mobility, Australian employers in regional and rural areas can access a pool of reliable workers to help them meet their labour needs.

At the same time, these workers are contributing positively to their host communities and creating people-to-people links between Australia and Pacific island countries.

When they spend time in Australia through the SWP and the PLS, workers gain valuable income and skills to take home.

This is making a positive difference to the livelihoods of thousands of families in Pacific island countries and in Timor-Leste – and helping to build prosperity and security across the region.

That’s why Pacific labour mobility is a “triple win”.

It benefits Australian employers and their communities, it helps Pacific island and Timor-Leste workers and their families, and it increases the prosperity of the workers’ home communities and countries.

Who runs the Pacific labour mobility initiatives?

Josefa, a worker from Fiji

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment administers the SWP, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade connects Australian employers with workers through the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF) and supports the administration of the PLS.

The PLF also works closely with Pacific and Timorese governments to build the pool of suitably qualified workers, and helps Australian businesses find and recruit workers.

Want to find out more?

For more information about the SWP, you can visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s SWP website.

If you want to express your interest in joining the PLS as an approved employer, you can complete our online expression of interest form, or download a copy of the form, complete it and send it to (enquiries@pacificlabourfacility.com.au).

Or, if you want to find out more about the PLS generally, get in touch at (enquiries@pacificlabourfacility.com.au).

Elaine Luankon from Vanuatu working in hospitality at Cable Beach Resort, Western Australia.