Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme was introduced in April 2022 to allow eligible Australian businesses to recruit workers from nine Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste to fill labour shortages where local workers are not available.

Introduced to help fill unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled positions, the PALM scheme enables employers to hire workers for short-term roles for up to nine months or long-term roles for one to four years. For Pacific Island and Timor-Leste workers it enables them to work in Australia, develop their skills and send income home.

The PALM scheme is an important temporary migration program that addresses labour shortages across rural and regional Australia and in the agriculture industry nationally. The PALM Scheme has proved to be popular with the number of participants increasing from 24,500 in May 2022 to 38,180 in April 2023. The federal government had committed to reaching 35,000 PALM workers by June 2023 but achieved this figure six months ahead of schedule in December 2022.


The Evolution of the PALM Scheme

Many questions have been raised as to the future and longevity of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme. In May this year, the Australian Government announced further expansion and improvement of the PALM scheme. The intention is to strengthen the program so it continues to benefit employers and workers and their families and communities. They hope to achieve this by:

  • Strengthening the Australian Government’s oversight of the PALM scheme to enhance conditions and better protect and support workers and improve their experience in Australia.
  • Responsibly growing the PALM scheme and better supporting employers and participating countries by:
    • Providing additional resources to Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) to increase the PALM scheme’s regional footprint to better support PALM scheme employers, including small growers.
    • Increasing resources including personnel for participating countries to increase the number of workers taking up job opportunities in Australia. This will ensure countries with aspirations to grow their participation in the scheme can do so.
  • Supporting more than 1,000 PALM scheme workers to attain formal qualifications over four years.
  • Increasing support to make it easier for PALM scheme workers to access superannuation savings when they return home.
  • Providing access to Medicare for an initial 200 families who will participate in the PALM scheme family accompaniment pilot.


Can You Get Permanent Residence if You Are in Australia on the PALM Scheme?

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme is a temporary migration program. Supporting the Australian Government’s attempts to improve the PALM scheme, it will be offering the Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV).

The PEV is a new permanent visa that will complement the PALM scheme by offering permanent residence to citizens from countries across the Pacific and Timor-Leste. There will be an annual allocation of up to 3,000 permanent visas made available through a ballot process to Pacific Island and Timor-Leste nationals, inclusive of partners and dependent children.

PALM scheme participants currently in Australia on temporary visas will be eligible to enter the Pacific Engagement Visa ballot once registrations open.

To learn more about the PALM scheme or any other aspect of migration, contact the experienced team of registered migration agents at Visa Solutions Australia. Book a consultation.