Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Many claim that Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) is an aid program. However, this assumption is an incorrect one. This misunderstanding can severely affect how sending-country governments located in the Pacific and Australian regions conduct their roles under the SWP. The two schemes, namely SWP and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) are completely managed by the employer’s demands. The participation of the employers registered under these schemes is completely voluntary. In fact, all of the features of the employer’s engagements are greatly monitored. Thus, the employer must undergo the vetting process in order to attain the approved employer (AE) position.
These AEs are generally segregated into 2 categories. The first kind of AE is typically a grower or a farmer who employs, supervises, and provides pastoral care to the seasonal workers. The second category of AE workers is classified as a labour-hire organization that accepts the responsibility of paying wages and supervising the pastoral care. Even though some farmers prefer to hire directly, small farm owners like to hire their labour through an organization.
According to data provided by the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment, it can be concluded that a labour organization employs about 6.3 times as many SWP labourers rather than the first type of AE. Additionally, it has also been ascertained that the largest employer of SWP workers is mostly large labour-hire farms. The reason for this dominance may be questioned. Firstly, the SWP bears extremely large transaction costs because all of the employees are brought in from overseas. Thus, they require pastoral care and other such facilities. Furthermore, this organization also specializes in the comprehension of details regarding labour regulations. Hence, the greatest SWP stories are derived from small farmers and growers. However, in the future, it may be seen that large labour-hire companies are enjoying the same benefits.