Work team harvesting fresh vegetables in the community greenhouse garden - Happy farmers people at work picking up organic onions and garlic - Focus on head hat - Sowing and vegetarian concept

Seasonal Worker Programme – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403)

Caroline HutchinsonCaroline Hutchinson litigation, ||

The seasonal worker program stream under the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) allows individuals who are a citizen and resident of one of the named Pacific islands, to come to Australia and work temporarily for Australian employers who have been unable to source local labour.


Applicants must:

  • be a citizen of and resident in either Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, or Vanuatu.
  • be invited and sponsored by an approved Temporary Activities Sponsor;
  • be endorsed by the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment;
  • usually be over 21 years of age;
  • not have had a previous Australian visa application refused or cancelled (exemptions may apply);
  • meet the genuine temporary stay requirement; and
  • meet the health and character requirements.

Employers who wish to sponsor applicants must be an approved Temporary Activities Sponsor and must only recruit workers for eligible industries. An employer’s status as a Temporary Activities Sponsor remains in place for 5 years.

The Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM), offers employers access to seasonal labour in industries such as the agriculture sector. More information about PALM can be found here.

Visa application

The visa applicant must be outside of Australia when applying for the visa and when a decision is made on the visa. Family members cannot be included on the application.


This is a temporary visa and visa holders may have a no further stay condition on their visa, which means that unless they are able to waive the no further stay condition, they may not be able to extend their stay in Australia.

The duration of the visa can be from 9 months for seasonal work, or for longer term roles for between 1 to 3 years in unskilled, low skilled and semi skilled positions. Visa applicants must have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.


Visa holders must continue to be employed by their sponsor (meaning they cannot work for another employer in Australia), only do the work in the industry covered by the visa and comply with all other visa conditions and Australian laws.

Obligations as a sponsor

Employers have certain obligations including:

  • cooperating with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958(the Act) including giving access to premises, producing and providing documents and allowing them to inspect work;
  • keeping records and provide records and information when requested; and
  • informing the Department of Home Affairs when certain events occur e.g., visa holder does not participate in the position, program or activity the visa was granted for.

Further information about the visa can be found here.

Coleman Greig can help you with:

  • advice on the various visa options available;
  • advice regarding the sponsorship process and your obligations as a sponsor;
  • preparing and lodging applications and supporting submissions;
  • liaising with Home Affairs;
  • tracking and managing the progress of your visa applications; and
  • advice on preparing employment contracts for seasonal workers.

If you need assistance, contact our Employment & Migration Team.


Send an enquiry

Any personal information you provide is collected pursuant to our Privacy Policy.


More posts

Bendel vTax Commissioner
Bendel v Commissioner of Taxation

Did the Administrative Appeals Tribunal make the “correct and preferable decision” and where to from here? In a recent case, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal)

Salvage Lien attempt fails

Volkswagen Financial Services Australia Pty Ltd v Atlas CTL Pty Ltd ( Receivers and Managers Appointed)(in liquidation) [2022] NSWSC 573. In this case administrators, then

Charitable gift in a Will

The gift may be a specific asset but more commonly is either a specified amount or a percentage of your estate to the charitable organisation.

© 2024 Coleman Greig Lawyers   |  Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. ABN 73 125 176 230