Frequently Asked Questions about the Seasonal Worker Programme

Frequently Asked Questions about the Seasonal Worker Programme.

What is the Seasonal Worker Programme?

The Seasonal Worker Programme assists Australian employers in the agriculture sector nationwide, accommodation sector (in selected locations) and tourism sector (the Northern Australia tourism pilot) that are unable to find enough local Australian labour by providing access to workers from Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste. Seasonal workers can return in following seasons, providing employers with access to a reliable, returning workforce.

The programme contributes to the economic development of eligible Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste by providing access to low and unskilled work opportunities in Australia.

Which countries are currently participating in the Seasonal Worker Programme?

Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

How long is the duration of employment for seasonal workers?

Effective from 5 November 2018, employers can employ seasonal workers from all participating countries for a maximum of nine months. Seasonal workers can work in Australia for up to nine months, but must spend three months out of every twelve in their home country.

Prior to 5 November 2018, only seasonal workers from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu could be employed for a maximum period of nine months.

Types of industries available

Employers can fill low and unskilled seasonal vacancies in:

  • Agriculture industries that fall under the Pastoral Award 2010
  • Horticulture
  • Cane
  • Cotton
  • Aquaculture
  • Accommodation (selected locations)
  • Tourism pilot (Northern Australia only)

Please visit "Jobs for seasonal workers" to learn more about what work these industries cover.

Are there additional learning opportunities that seasonal workers can undertake during their stay in Australia?

Yes, the Add-on Skills Training component of the program allows seasonal workers to access basic training in First Aid, English and IT skills. These skills can help seasonal workers while on the job in Australia and when they return to their home country.

The Add-on Skills Training component of the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), previously administered by the Department of Jobs and Small Business, was transferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), effective from 1 July 2018.

Any questions regarding these arrangements can be directed through the Pacific Labour Facility (PLF) at plf_training@thepalladiumgroup.com.

Who pays for Add-on Skills Training?

The Australian Government funds Add-on Skills Training for seasonal workers. There is no cost to the seasonal worker or the approved employer.