What is the change? Australia will increase the number of Seasonal Worker Program visas it makes available in the 2015-16 fiscal year. The number will increase from 3,250 to 4,250.

What does the change mean? Farmers and other employers will be able to employ more foreign workers from the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

  • Implementation timeframe: 1 July.
  • Visas/permits affected: Special Program visa (subclass 416).
  • Who is affected: Farmers and others employing workers through the Seasonal Worker Program.
  • Business impact: The changes will allow farmers and other employers to hire more foreign nationals.
  • Next Steps: The additional permits will be available 1July, the beginning of the Australian fiscal year.

Background: The Seasonal Worker Program allows guest workers to come to Australia from the Pacific or Timor-Leste for up to six months for seasonal jobs in agriculture and a limited number of other industries. In the past, the program was hindered by labour market testing requirements and labour caps on specific areas of agriculture, such as horticulture, sugarcane and cotton farming. The sector-specific caps have been lifted, however, and now the overall cap is set to increase as well. The program is available to nationals of Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

BAL Analysis: The changes to the Seasonal Worker Program, including eliminating caps on specific areas of farming and increasing the overall cap, should help farmers and other Australian employers meet their business needs.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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