The PLS builds on the success of the Australian Government’s SWP, which has allowed Australian businesses to recruit unskilled or low-skilled workers from Pacific island countries since 2012.
Both the SWP and the PLS are Pacific labour mobility initiatives that allow eligible rural and regional employers to access a reliable and productive workforce when there are not enough available local workers.
The key differences between the two initiatives are detailed in the table below.
|Seasonal Worker Programme||Pacific Labour Scheme|
|Length of time||Up to 9 months||Up to 3 years (minimum 12 months)|
|Industries||Agriculture, accommodation (in select locations)||All sectors in rural and regional Australia|
|Locations||Agriculture: Nationally. Accommodation: WA, NT, Tropical North Qld and Kangaroo Island||Rural and regional Australia|
|Skill level||Unskilled and low-skilled||Low-skilled and semi-skilled|
|Labour market testing||Required||Required|
|Agency||Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business||Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Age of workers||21 years and over||21–45 years|
|Partner countries||Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Tuvalu||Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Tuvalu|
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide information and guidance to PLS approved employers to enable their successful participation in the scheme. They are intended to help employers understand and meet their obligations and responsibilities as a PLS employer.