New legislation will help Pacific Island visa holders in Australia
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > New legislation passes to allow ECEC access to PEV and PALM scheme families

New legislation passes to allow ECEC access to PEV and PALM scheme families

by Freya Lucas

November 16, 2023

The Australian Government has passed legislation to provide additional support and benefits to eligible Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) holders and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme families.


A range of supports have been included in the legislation including access to tertiary student loans while studying, family tax benefits and the Child Care Subsidy. PEV and PALM visa holders will also have access to Medicare.


“The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to deepen our connections with the Pacific and Timor-Leste, and playing our part in a shared Pacific that is peaceful, stable and prosperous,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong.


The Government hopes that the supports will help visa holders and their families to make a valuable contribution in Australia, including strengthening people-to-people, cultural and business ties and helping to fill workforce shortages, including in rural and regional areas.


“This legislation is a demonstration of the value Australia places on its relationship with the Pacific and Timor-Leste,” said Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon. Pat Conroy MP. 


“The measures will not only benefit individuals, families and employers, but also the broader region by providing economic and skills dividends.” 


The PEV will enable up to 3,000 Pacific and Timor-Leste nationals to migrate to Australia as permanent residents each year, while the Government has also committed to allowing long-term PALM scheme workers to bring their families to Australia, commencing with a pilot of 200 families in 2024.


“PALM scheme workers often leave their families and communities for extended periods. This legislation will ensure they have access to benefits that will support them to bring their families, recognising the important contribution they make to essential sectors and regional communities across Australia,” Mr Conroy said.


The PEV program and the PALM scheme family accompaniment pilot will commence in 2024. 


For further information, visit the Pacific Engagement Visa program and PALM scheme.

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