I am pleased to announce that Timor-Leste has today joined Australia’s new Pacific Labour Scheme, the ninth nation to participate in the initiative that strengthens our partnerships in the region.
Timor-Leste’s Secretary of State, Julião da Silva, and I signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Timor-Leste’s participation in the scheme following a bilateral meeting in Sydney.
The scheme provides Australian employers in rural and regional Australia with access to a reliable, productive and long-term workforce to help their businesses grow.
Timor-Leste joins Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu in the Pacific Labour Scheme. Workers can undertake non-seasonal work in rural and regional Australia for up to three years.
The scheme builds on the success of Timor-Leste’s involvement in the Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme. Since joining the programme in 2012, almost 3,000 Timor-Leste workers have helped to fill labour shortages in rural and regional Australia while gaining skills and supporting their families back home. Timor-Leste is now the third largest sending country under this programme, and sends the highest percentage of female workers.
Australia has deep and enduring ties with Timor-Leste based on shared history, values and interests. I welcome Timor-Leste’s entry into the Pacific Labour Scheme, part of the new chapter in our bilateral relations, coming as Timor-Leste prepares to mark 20 years since the Popular Consultation for Independence in August 1999.
Visit http://dfat.gov.au/labourmobility to learn more about Australia’s labour mobility initiatives, including the Pacific Labour Scheme.