Safety and wellbeing in Australia’s Pacific labour mobility scheme


Australian industries have used labour from the Pacific Islands in different forms since the late 1800s. The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme was announced in 2021 and combined two previous schemes, the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme. The PALM scheme allows eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from nine Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste when there are not enough local workers available. The number of PALM scheme workers in Australia rapidly increased following the COVID-19 border closures in 2020, and as at January 2023 there were over 35,000 workers in Australia. Internationally, there are concerns about how guestworkers are treated in host countries so it was timely to examine the safety and wellbeing of PALM scheme workers in Australia, and whether the arrangements currently in place adequately support and protect workers. This report covers many of of the gendered issues associated with labour mobility including sexual and reproductive health, accommodation and violence against women.

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Research Type(s)
Report – Peer reviewed
Submitted by Lindy Kanan
November 13, 2023
Published in

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