Pacific Australian Labour Mobility Scheme – How it Compares

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme helps eligible businesses recruit workers from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste to fill unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled positions where local workers are not available.


The PALM Scheme is a temporary program which has become quite popular since its introduction in April 2022. But as a temporary migration program, how does it compare to other temporary work visas?


Other Temporary Work Visa Options

When it comes to working in Australia on a temporary basis, there are a few options available.


The temporary visa programs the PALM Scheme could be compared to are:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
  • Working Holiday Maker Visa (Subclass 417)
  • Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408)


Each of these visas have a particular purpose and their own specific eligibility criteria.


Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)

The Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (TSS) enables an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled worker from overseas to fill a position that cannot be filled by an Australian worker.


The TSS program is designed to assist employers who experience labour shortages from time to time due to supply and demand in certain industries. Only certain occupations are eligible for the TSS visa and are based on current labour supply and demand trends.


The Temporary Skills Shortage Visa has three streams. These are:

  • The Short-term Stream
  • The Medium-term Stream
  • The Labour Agreement Stream


The Short-term and Medium-term Streams require employers to be registered as a Standard Business Sponsor and submit a nomination application for each sponsored employee. The Labour Agreement Stream requires employers to enter into a Labour Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs and submit a nomination application for each sponsored employee.


Each of these streams have varying lengths of stay and specific eligibility criteria, however, they all require applicants to:

  • Be nominated for a skilled occupation by an approved sponsor
  • Have the right skills to do the job
  • Have at least two years relevant work experience in the nominated occupation or a related field
  • Meet relevant English language requirements


While this is a temporary visa, it provides a pathway to permanent residence via the Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa.  As with all visas, applicants will need to satisfy the relevant eligibility criteria.


Working Holiday Maker Visa (Subclass 417)

The Working Holiday Maker Visa (WHM) enables young adults to have a 12-month holiday in Australia and undertake short-term work or study.


The Working Holiday Maker Visa program has over 40 partner countries or jurisdictions. Eligible applicants from any of these 40 countries are able to visit Australia on a WHM Visa.


Holders of a Working Holiday Maker Visa may apply for a second or third WHM Visa if eligible.


Applicants wishing to apply for a Working Holiday Maker Visa need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be 18 – 30 years of age (or 35 years of age for some countries)
  • Must have a passport from an eligible country or jurisdiction
  • Must not be accompanied by dependent children


Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408)

The Temporary Activity Visa was introduced in 2020 and while it is set to close on 1st February 2024, in comparison to the PALM Scheme, it offered temporary visa holders affected by Covid-19 travel restrictions the opportunity to stay in Australia to do specific types of work on a short-term basis for up to 12 months.


Deciding which visa is best for you will come down to how long you wish to stay in Australia.

Applicants looking for permanent residence may need to consider the Temporary Skills Shortage Visas – Labour Agreement Stream. For those who hold a visa under the PALM Scheme, they may be eligible for a Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV). The PEV will complement the PALM Scheme by offering permanent residence to workers from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Lest however, places will be limited and offered through a ballot system.


To learn more about the best visa option for you, contact the team of experienced registered migration agents at Visa Solutions Australia. Book a consultation.