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Employers of Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers

If you have workers in the PALM scheme you need to be an approved employer, withhold tax and provide income statements.

Last updated 2 August 2023

Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme

On 4 April 2022, the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) were merged to form the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

While the PALM scheme consolidates the SWP and PLS, some of your workers might remain on these schemes for the duration of their visa.

You can continue to apply the SWP or PLS rules to workers who were issued their visa prior to 4 April 2022.

You can check your worker's visa status using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online systemExternal Link.

Approved employer

You can apply to be an approved employerExternal Link under the PALM scheme by undergoing the PALM approved employer assessment process via Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Tax file number

Once PALM workers have entered Australia, they can apply for a tax file number (TFN) using their passport and visa details. They will need to provide you with their TFN. Their TFN can also be given to their super fund.

Withholding rate

If you are an approved employer, you must withhold tax at a flat rate of 15% on all payments made to foreign resident PALM workers.

If you are not an approved employer, you must withhold tax at foreign resident rates for foreign resident PALM workers. If you have withheld more than 15% tax, your employee will need to request a refund of excess withholding tax.

You should use our tax tables under 'Regular payments' to work out how much to withhold from payments you make to foreign resident PALM workers.

Reporting

You must provide payment summaries (or income statements if reporting under Single Touch Payroll) to PALM workers if you have withheld tax from payments. Foreign resident PALM workers are not required to lodge tax returns unless they have other Australian income outside of the program. PALM workers should not include their income from the PALM scheme in their tax returns.

At the end of each financial year, you will need to include these payment summaries, and any others that you have issued, when you lodge your pay as you go (PAYG) withholding payment summary annual report.

If you report under Single Touch Payroll (STP), the income statements will need to be included for PALM workers, along with all your other employees.

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