Check about tax and super if you come to Australia to work in the Seasonal Worker Programme or Pacific Labour Scheme.
If you have a Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa to work in Australia in the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) or Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) your employer will withhold tax from your pay. You may also need to lodge an income tax return in Australia each year.
The SWP and PLS were merged to form the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme on 4 April 2022. If you become employed under this scheme, see Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme. The taxation arrangements for workers in the SWP and PLS continue to apply if you remain employed under these programs.
You or your employer can check your visa status using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online systemExternal Link.
For tax purposes in Australia, individuals will be either:
- an Australian resident
- a foreign resident.
Most people who come to Australia under the SWP are foreign residents for tax purposes. This is because workers in the SWP, consistent with their visa requirements, don't intend to stay in Australia. They only intend to work here for a short time and return home.
Most people who come to Australia under the PLS are Australian residents for tax purposes. This is because they form a connection with Australia and intend to make Australia their home.
Whether you are a resident for tax purposes will depend upon your circumstances.
Before you receive your pay, your employer will withhold tax.
Foreign residents in the SWP
If you are a foreign resident worker under the SWP, your employer will withhold tax at the rate of 15% for each dollar you earn You're not required to lodge a tax return if you don’t earn income from any other sources in Australia.
Your SWP income is considered to be non-assessable, non-exempt income and you can't claim any deductions against this income.
Example – Foreign resident in the SWP
John comes to Australia for 6 months on a 403 visa issued prior to 4 April 2022 under the SWP to pick walnuts in rural and regional locations. John is a foreign resident for tax purposes in Australia.
John takes up employment at a walnut farm in Moree in northern New South Wales. He is paid $21 per hour and guaranteed 10 hours for 6 days each week. As John is a foreign resident working for an approved employer under the SWP, his employer will withhold 15% final tax from his salary and wages. John’s weekly salary is calculated as:
- $21 per hour × 10 hours × 6 days = $1,260 per week
His employer withholds 15% = $189
John’s take home pay each week is $1,071
Because John is a foreign resident working under a 403 visa in the SWP and he does not earn income from any other sources in Australia, he is not required to lodge a tax return in Australia.End of example
Australian residents in the PLS
You pay tax at the rate set out in the tables for residents of Australia if you are a resident of Australia for tax purposes. Your employer is required to withhold tax when they pay you. You are required to lodge a tax return.
Example – Australian resident in the PLS
Joe comes to Australia for 4 years on a 403 visa issued prior to 4 April 2022 under the PLS to pick fruit and nuts in rural and regional locations. Joe is an Australian resident for tax purposes in Australia.
Joe works at a cherry farm in Wangaratta, Victoria. He is paid $21 per hour and guaranteed 10 hours for 6 days each week. As Joe is an Australian resident, his employer will withhold tax from his salary and wages based on the resident tax rates. Joe’s weekly salary is calculated as:
$21 per hour × 10 hours × 6 days = $1,260 per week
His employer withholds tax and an amount for the Medicare levy = $251 per week
Joe’s take home pay each week is $1,009
Joe is required to lodge a tax return at the end of the tax year.End of example
Before you start work in Australia, you should:
- Apply for a tax file number
- Complete a TFN declaration for your employer
- Know your workplace rights.
If you plan to work in Australia, you need a tax file number (TFN). Your TFN is your personal reference number in our tax system.
You can apply for a TFN online once you have your work visa.
You don't have to have a TFN, but without one you pay more tax.
When you start work, you give your employer a Tax file number declaration. This helps the employer work out how much tax to withhold from your pay.
Your employer has to pay superannuation for you if you are an eligible employee. They may also be required to pay fringe benefits tax if they provide you with any benefits in addition to your pay.
Everyone working in Australia has the same workplace rights under the National Employment StandardsExternal Link (NES).
The national minimum wage and NES make up the minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees.
The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information on workplace rights and entitlements for visa holders and migrant workersExternal Link.
At the end of the income year or when you finish working in Australia, consider if you need to:
- Access your income statement
- Lodge a tax return
- Apply for a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP)
Your employer will usually provide an income statement through Single Touch Payroll (STP). It will show the amount you earned, tax withheld and superannuation that has been paid. You will be able to access and see your year-to-date tax and super information (income statement) in ATO online services through your myGov account from within Australia. If not, you can contact us.
If your employer is not yet using STP they will provide you with a payment summary showing the payments you received and tax amounts withheld for the income year.
The Australian income year starts on 1 July and ends on 30 June the following year. Most individuals who earn income and had tax withheld during the income year need to lodge an income tax return.
You don't need to lodge a tax return or a non-lodgment advice if you're a foreign resident for tax purposes working in the SWP.
If you leave Australia permanently before 30 June, you can lodge your tax return early.
When you leave Australia and return to your home country, you can apply to have your super paid to you as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).
You can apply after you leave Australia if you meet all DASP requirements.Check about tax and super if you come to Australia to work in the Seasonal Worker Programme or Pacific Labour Scheme.