Fijians under scheme can call families over

Acting Employment Minister Filimoni Vosarogo with PALM scheme workers in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

FIJIANS working in Australia under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme on one-four years visas will be allowed to have their dependent family members stay with them.

The Australian Government has announced that the Family Accompaniment Pilot Program is scheduled to start with 200 families in September.

Under the program, children will be able to go to school and the PALM scheme workers’ partners will be allowed to work in Australia with agreement from their Australian employer.

This arrangement does not extend to seasonal and short-term workers.

Family members will be required to demonstrate that they are either a spouse or de facto partner of the PALM scheme visa holder, or a dependent child.

A dependent child must be the biological child, stepchild or adopted child of the PALM scheme worker.

Children must be under 18 years, or aged 18 to 23 years and dependent on the PALM scheme worker or their partner.

A statement from the PALM scheme said costs associated with moving to Australia include passports, visas, travel expenses, health checks, setting up a home and sourcing stationery, laptops and uniforms for children attending school.

It also cautioned that it was expensive to live in many parts of Australia.

“‘It can be difficult for families to find suitable and affordable accommodation in many parts of Australia right now, so this may limit opportunities for some families seeking to join PALM scheme workers,” the statement read.

Eligible families will have access to family assistance benefits, namely the Family Tax Benefit and the Child Care Subsidy.

The Government will provide access to Medicare for the initial 200 families who will participate in the PALM scheme family accompaniment pilot.

Medicare access will support families to receive the health care they need during their time in Australia.

More Stories