The Australian Government announced it’s ambitious plan to support critical sectors such as agriculture, accommodation, hospitality and aged care by bring to Australia additional 12,500 Pacific workers by March 2022. According to the Government estimation these changes will expand access to Pacific workers for new and existing employers.
A new program – Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme – will unite the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).
New joined-up Pacific labour mobility approach will include a short (6 to 8 weeks), streamlined, single application process to become an approved employer. The approved employers will be able to recruit seasonal and/or long-term workers under both SWP and PLS.
The main features of the PALM scheme include:
- expanding eligibility criteria to enable accommodation employers and employers in the agricultural sector operating in all parts of rural and regional Australia to recruit Pacific seasonal workers
- doubling recruitment caps
- increasing the validity period for labour market testing to 12 months
- allowing PLS workers who have spent 3 years in Australia to continue working for an additional 12 months while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place
- permitting conditional redeployments of workers to another approved employer
- allowing all workers over the age of 21 to participate in a PALM scheme.
- providing opportunities for workers to access training up to certificate level while working in Australia.
The Australian Government is introducing a new website – www.palmscheme.gov.au – for new and existing employers, community stakeholders and people in the Pacific and Timor-Leste considering work opportunities in Australia.
Further reforms will be announced later this year.
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