Article – Expansion of the Seasonal Worker Programme

25 June 2015
Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Australian Government is introducing a number of measures to reduce barriers to employment and address workforce skills shortages for Australia’s north.
The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia proposes new policies to unlock the great potential of Australia’s north.

The Australian Government will streamline and expand the Seasonal Worker Programme to better meet businesses’ labour needs.

The Seasonal Worker Programme for Pacific workers helps Australian employers access short-term labour from our region for our rural and regional areas.
Participating employers need to first demonstrate that no local job seekers are available to work before being eligible to recruit from the Seasonal Worker Programme.

The Government will remove the annual cap on programme places, expand to the broader agriculture industry and make the accommodation sector part of the programme on an ongoing basis.

The northern tourism industry will also be invited to apply to join the programme on a trial basis. The changes will open the door for more Pacific Island countries to be eligible to access the programme.

Australia recognises the benefits from closer labour mobility with our nearest neighbours.  Remittances are an important component of developing countries’ economies, totalling around $400 billion in 2014 which is about three times the size of international flows of foreign aid.

The programme provides much needed income and skills development for seasonal workers from our Pacific neighbours and Timor-Leste, which they can use to invest in both their own and their families’ economic futures.

Courtesy of the Hon Julie Bishop MP


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