What type of workers do you need?

Are you an employer looking for short-term, unskilled or low-skilled seasonal workers through the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP)? Or are you looking for longer-term, low-skilled or semi-skilled workers through the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS)?

Find out the main differences between the two initiatives below.

If you are looking for information and advice about coronavirus or COVID-19, visit our Pacific labour mobility coronavirus page.

What are the main differences between the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme?

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.






Workers from Solomon Islands at GraceKate Farm
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

Pacific Labour Scheme approved employer guidelines

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.

PLS approved employer guidelines [pdf] | PLS approved employer guidelines [Word]