The Australian Seasonal Workers Programme (SWP) is a federal government initiative implemented in 2009. Issued under the 403 visa, the programme is open to nationals of 10 Pacific countries including Timor-Leste.

The SWP offers seasonal labour to employers in the agricultural industry, and employers in selected locations in the accommodation industry who can’t meet their seasonal labour needs with local jobseekers.

For Australian employers in the agriculture and accommodation industries unable to find sufficient local labour, the programme offers access to a reliable, returning workforce able to return season after season.

In addition to the on-the-job learning seasonal workers undertake under the Programme, they also have the opportunity to participate in valuable basic training opportunities funded by the Australian Government known as add-on skills training in first aid, English literacy and numeracy as well as basic computer (IT) skills outside of working hours.




The accreditation as Approved Employer (AE) now allows EastCoast to recruit seasonal workers from participating countries for placement with local agricultural and aquaculture businesses nationwide as well as accommodation businesses in designated localities.

Sourcing of workers under this programme is made easier because we will undertake the administrative responsibility and costs for placement.


Participating countries in the programme include Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Seasonal workers from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu are eligible to work up to nine months because of the high cost of travel whilst workers from the remaining participating countries can work for up to six months.


As of 18 June, 2015 the annual SW quota has been removed and the programme expanded.

The eligible sectors and the kind of work that can be performed in each are listed as follows:

The Agriculture Industry:

Horticulture work

Factsheet on SWP and the horticulture sector

Cane work

Factsheet on SWP and the cane sector

Cotton Work

Factsheet on SWP and the cotton sector

Aquaculture work

Factsheet on SWP and the aquaculture sector

Pastoral work

Factsheet on SWP and the agriculture industry

Other Agriculture Work

The Australian Government is progressing work to identify further occupations in the agriculture industry for inclusion in the SWP.


Factsheet on SWP and the accommodation industry

Employers in the accommodation industry in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tropical North Queensland and Kangaroo Island can access the SWP.

Tourism occupations (Northern Australia)

A pilot started in 6 May, 2016 in northern Australia that sees an expansion to the scope of roles that the accommodation as well as with other support businesses associated with the tourism industry can now acquire under the SWP.

Factsheet on SWP and the North Australia pilot


In essence, arrangements made under the SWP for host employers are similar to local arrangements for the placement of temporary/casual labour hire.

Under the Deed of Agreement for the SWP, we, as an AE are required to recruit locally first. Where we are unable to find you workers locally, we begin the administrative process to bring across seasonal workers.


EastCoast provides labour hire services in the most ethical manner. The welfare and productivity of all workers engaged under this programme are paramount as this determines the sustainability of the programme.



For more information about the SWP or if you need help with general recruitment, labour hire, payroll, human resources or industrial relations issues, please call us on (07) 5443 6022. You can talk to:

  1. Michalle Faulkner at for the SWP, Payroll as well as HR and IR advisory services.
  2. Jenelle Shield at for temporary recruitment and labour hire placements.