Pacific Labour Scheme gives growers more options

Under a new scheme, horticultural growers can now employ people from Pacific island countries to work in agriculture in low and semi-skilled jobs for up to three years.  

The Pacific Labour Scheme has been established to allow workers from Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to come to Australia to work in agriculture in jobs that are not seasonal such as machinery operation.

The Scheme follows the success of the Seasonal Worker Programme that allows workers from nine participating Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste to come to Australia and work in unskilled horticulture for up to nine months. MADEC is a licenced employer under the Seasonal Worker Programme.

“The number of people employed under the Seasonal Worker Programme has increased year-on-year with 8,459 coming to work in Australia under the program in 2017-2018,” said Gavin Krake, MADEC’s Harvest Trail Manager. “Numbers are set to climb again this year and are off-setting reductions in backpacker numbers.

“The new Pacific Labour Scheme will provide another welcome source of labour.”

Commencing on 1 July 2018, the Pacific Labour Scheme allows workers to stay in Australia for a minimum of one year and up to three years. They can make return trips home during that time (at their own cost) if they wish.

The Scheme is open to non-seasonal agriculture, forestry and fishing work in rural and regional Australia for low to semi-skilled workers and, as with the Seasonal Worker Programme, labour market testing and pastoral care services are required.

Workers must be aged between 21 and 45 years and there is no annual cap on participant numbers.  Additional sending countries may be added in the future.

More information

Gavin Krake, Manager – National Harvest Labour Information Service, MADEC