Pacific Labour Scheme – Delivering Workers for Rural and Regional Australia

The Pacific Labour Scheme is a new Federal Government initiative launched in July 2018, which allows businesses to access workers from Pacific island countries. The Scheme is already being used by businesses in the tourism industry to help to meet its labour shortages.

The Pacific Labour Scheme is designed for businesses that are unable to find workers in rural and regional Australia, to help them fill low and semi-skilled jobs for up to three years.

Key facts about the Scheme are that it:

  • allows citizens from Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu (Pacific workers) to work in Australia
  • is open to all industries, with a focus on: accommodation and food services; health care and social assistance; and non-seasonal agriculture, forestry and fishing industries;
  • allows Pacific workers to work in Australia for between one and three years;
  • allows Pacific workers to fill low and semi-skilled jobs;
  • includes an initial annual cap of up to 2,000 workers in 2018-19;
  • is supported by the Pacific Labour Facility which provides assistance to workers and employers;
  • is employer-sponsored and requires labour market testing to ensure Australians have priority for local jobs;
  • is cost effective; and
  • contains protections to safeguard against worker exploitation.

The Pacific Labour Facility will provide support including:

  • assisting interested businesses to understand and access the Scheme;
  • connecting Australian businesses with Pacific workers;
  • providing pastoral care to Pacific workers;
  • administering the Scheme in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Information on the Scheme and the Pacific Labour Facility is included in the factsheets below. A self-assessment checklist is also provided to help businesses determine if they can access the Scheme. Further resources and information, including frequently asked questions and a video testimonial from an employer, are also available.