Seasonal Worker Programme overview
The Seasonal Worker Programme offers employers in the agriculture sector and employers in selected locations in the accommodation sector access to a reliable, returning workforce when there is not enough local Australian labour to meet seasonal demand.
Seasonal workers benefit from the opportunity to earn Australian wages and gain valuable on-the-job learning opportunities. Many seasonal workers use the money earned in Australia to pay for their kids’ education, start a small business or build a house. For the workers and their families, this is a life changing opportunity.
On 4 April 2020, the Australian Government announced temporary changes to visa arrangements that would allow Pacific workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme to continue working in the agriculture sector until the coronavirus crisis has passed. The new visas will enable the workers to remain in Australia and continue working to support themselves for up to 12 months. The conditions under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visas will be carried over to the new visa arrangements, continuing the sponsorship arrangements between Pacific workers and their employers.
These changes will ensure the agricultural sector has the labour force it needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available in the Minister’s media release.
Seasonal Worker Programme Regional Pilot
The Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme Regional Pilot, is designed to help smaller farmers meet workforce shortages in the following pilot regions:
- Sunraysia (NSW/Victoria);
- Goulburn/Murray (Victoria);
- Riverina (NSW); and
- Wimmera/Mallee (Victoria) – with effect from 1 January 2020
See the Regional Pilot factsheet for further information.
Seasonal Worker Programme Pilot Guidance is for Approved Employers participating in the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) Regional Pilot.
Seasonal Worker Programme - Worker Portability Pilot
As part of the Australian Government’s Regional Agriculture Migration Package, Approved Employers in the Wimmera Mallee, Sunraysia, Goulburn/Murray and the Riverina regions can share seasonal workers under the SWP Worker Portability Pilot. This Pilot will run till 30 June 2022. This will mean that smaller farmers and growers, who are Approved Employers under the SWP, and require seasonal workers for shorter periods of time, can plan their harvest needs and use the same group of seasonal workers sequentially.
See the SWP Portability Pilot - Information Sheet for further details.
Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme
The Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme, complements the Seasonal Worker Programme. It helps meet business needs across all sectors in rural and regional Australia. For further information, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.
For further information about the Seasonal Worker Programme, contact us via:
Information Line: +61 (02) 6240 5234 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, Canberra time)
For more information on Australia’s skilled visas visit the Department of Home Affairs website.