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Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa (Subclass 403)

Temporary Work (International Relations) visa Subclass 403 — Pacific Labour Stream

The Temporary Work (International Relations) visa Subclass 403 — Pacific Labour Stream is an offshoot of the seasonal worker program stream. This is a foreign government agency stream for people looking for temporary work and come from a specified Pacific Island country to fill worker shortages in regional Australia.

Under this government agreement stream you must be invited to apply for the international relations visa by an Australian sponsor. The sponsor must have Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade endorsement and be approved as a temporary activities sponsor. They must also be endorsed to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program. The visa subclass 403 allows you to work in Australia for up to three years.

Pacific Labour Scheme

The Pacific Labour Scheme helps to address worker shortages in in low and semi-skilled roles in rural and regional areas of Australia. Currently employers can recruit workers from:

  • Nauru
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • Timor-Leste
  • Fiji
  • Vanuatu
  • Samoa
  • Tonga

About the 403 visa

Depending on how long your visa is granted for, it can be from 12 months up to three years to work in rural areas of Australia. But you cannot stay in Australia any longer than three years.

The Temporary Work Visa 403:

  • Allows you to come and go from Australia as often as you like while it is valid.
  • Does not allow you to stay longer than three years but you can apply for another Pacific Labour Scheme approved employer.
  • You cannot bring family members with you.
  • A visa applicant must be outside Australia when applying for this visa unless you already have a visa in the Pacific Labour Scheme.
  • You cannot work for yourself or anyone else other than your sponsor.
  • You must be employed by your sponsor on an ongoing basis.
  • Only work in the type of industry your visa covers.
  • Comply with all Australian laws and visa conditions.

Visa eligibility

To be eligible for this visa, you must:

  • Be between the age of 21 and 44.
  • Hole a passport from one of the specified Pacific Islands.
  • You must be endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Have a sponsor the meets the requirements and is approved as a temporary activities sponsor.
  • Meet the health and character requirements.
  • Have adequate health cover for the duration of your stay in Australia.
  • Only want to stay in Australia on a temporary basis.
  • Meet seasonal workers tax obligations.
  • Have not had a previous application refused or a visa cancelled in the past.

Sponsor eligibility

When an employer in rural and regional areas of Australia need unskilled or low-skilled workers, they apply for approval. For a sponsor to express interest in the scheme they must:

  • Be based and operating a business in Australia.
  • Be in a rural or regional part of Australia.
  • Need non-seasonal labour in jobs they have not been able to fill with Australian workers.
  • Have an Australian Company Number or Australian Business Number.
  • Demonstrate at least three years of financials.
  • Have a history of complying with fair work and immigration requirements.
  • Have employment and workplace procedures and policies in place.

To become a temporary activities sponsor, an employer must also receive Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade endorsement. The cost of becoming a sponsor is $420 and the processing times vary.

Diplomatic or consular stream

Some diplomat or consular officials can hire a domestic worker. Diplomatic and consular officials are limited to a maximum of two if the head of a diplomatic mission and one when the career head of a consular post. But there are terms and conditions for hiring a worker for diplomatic or consular eligibility, including:

  • Not being able to cancel an employee’s visa. The Department of Home Affairs only has this power.
  • Paying an Australian minimum wage.
  • Allowing workers to leave their place of work after work hours.
  • Complying with any award requirements that apply.
  • Workers must be paid at least monthly, preferably through electronic transfer of funds, and a payslip supplied within 24 hours. Payment in cash is not acceptable as payments must be auditable.
  • Workers must be paid in money and not in any other way such as food or clothes.
  • Not being able to deduct money from a worker’s wages without their written agreement. For example, repayment for breakages or accommodation.

How to apply

To apply for the Pacific Island stream of the temporary work subclass 403 visa:

  • Contact Direct Migration experts and we can help you assess your eligibility to make sure you meet the requirements.
  • Get all the documents together that you need to make your application and we can help you with these.
  • Lodge your application online and ensure you meet all the other requirements such as a health check and health insurance.
  • Now you need to wait for a decision.

Visa costs and processing times

The cost of the subclass 403 visa for temporary work internationally is $AU315.

Processing times are usually between eight and 12 days as long as you submit all the necessary information at the time of lodging your application.

How Direct Migration Experts can help

Applying for a 403 visa or to become a sponsor of the Pacific Labour Scheme can be confusing and complex, and the requirements are always changing. The specialists at Direct Migration Experts can help you every step of the way. We are registered migration agents and can assess your situation to help you make the right choices and decisions. We can also assist with the documents you need and making your visa application as well as giving you all the information you need.

Call us on 1300 015 592 to talk to one of our experienced consultants.


Keywords used are in bold.

foreign government agency stream

privileges and immunities stream – how is this relevant to this visa?

work international relations visa

worker diplomatic or consular

foreign language teacher – how is this relevant to this visa?

visa applicant

missions privileges and immunities – how is this relevant to this visa?

government agreement stream

foreign affairs and trade

temporary work international

seasonal worker program stream

visa subclass 403

migration agents

diplomatic or consular stream

12 months

diplomat or consular

terms and conditions

international relations visa subclass

department of foreign affairs

domestic worker diplomatic





Phases used are in bold. Using too many would be to repetitive.

pacific labour scheme 2021

pacific labour scheme wages

pacific labour scheme application form

pacific labour scheme approved employer

pacific labour scheme covid

Seasonal worker programme

pacific labour scheme contact

Seasonal workers tax obligations

Temporary Work Visa 403

pacific labour scheme and seasonal worker programme

Over 32 years of experience we’ll ensure you get the best guidance.