First workers arrive under Pacific Pathways Plan

  • Joint media release
  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
  • Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific
16 November 2021

The first Pacific workers under the Morrison Government’s new Pacific Pathways Plan (PPP) have arrived in Australia to fill critical workforce gaps immediately without the need for quarantine.

The 136 workers from Solomon Islands will begin work in places such as Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Junee, Dubbo, Wingham and Casino.

The PPP was established so workers from low COVID-risk Pacific countries can travel quarantine-free to Australia to take up work in agriculture, meat processing, tourism and care sectors.

This means fully vaccinated workers from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru may now enter Australia to fill critical work gaps without employers having to pay for quarantine.

Previously, in line with public health advice, Pacific workers were subject to a 14-day quarantine period, as with all other international arrivals. The PPP will reduce red tape and costs for Australian businesses seeking to access urgently needed labour. Remittances to the Pacific represent a critical source of economic investment in our region as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19 together.

Since August 2020, over 13,000 Pacific and Timorese workers have arrived in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), which is now called the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. Currently, there are more than 17,000 PALM workers in Australia.

The Morrison Government is committed to continuing to work with our Pacific family and the states and territories to bring additional workers to Australia, drawing from a Pacific work-ready pool of 55,000.

States and territories that have not yet opted in to the PPP are invited to do so.

Employers interested in recruiting workers to participate in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme can visit: https://www.palmscheme.gov.au/

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555