Entities must apply for approval from the Australian Government before they can recruit seasonal workers through the Programme. Once approved, entities are then referred to as approved employers.
Approved employers enter into an agreement with the Australian Government through the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and also enter into a sponsorship arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs.
For information on the sponsorship process, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Eligibility Criteria for employers seeking to become an Approved Employer of seasonal workers.
Organisations, including labour hire entities, contractors, growers and trusts, can apply to become an approved employer in the agriculture industry and in identified locations in the accommodation industry. Contractors must have been in operation for at least five years and have a record of compliance with immigration and workplace relations requirements to be eligible to apply to become an approved employer.
Before an entity becomes an approved employer, it must demonstrate that it:
- is an entity incorporated in Australia or a formal partnership with a valid Australian Business Number;
- is an ‘organisation’ for the purposes of the Migration Regulations 1994;
- is committed to employing Australian job seekers first;
- has good workplace relations and immigration practices; and
- has an understanding of an approved employer’s obligations under the Seasonal Worker Programme.
New approved employers joining the Seasonal Worker Programme are generally approved to recruit only a small number of seasonal workers for their first placement (known as a recruitment cap). This provides new approved employers the opportunity to adjust to their obligations and responsibilities under the programme whilst working with a manageable number of seasonal workers in their first placement.
The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business monitors approved employers during each placement to ensure compliance with programme requirements. An approved employer’s recruitment cap will be reviewed at the end of the placement taking into account the department’s monitoring and changes made where appropriate.