The Pacific Labour Facility offers visas for up to 3 years. Source: DFAT
By 2050, Australia will need to triple its workforce in the aged care sector, but aged care facilities in regional and rural Australia are struggling to attract and retain workers. Watch below how Australia's Pacific Labour Scheme is filling this labour shortage, offering stable jobs to those from nearby developing countries, and providing great care to those who need it.
The Australian Government's Pacific Labour Scheme works with nine countries across the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste, offering visas of up to three years for low to medium skilled workers to work in Australia's agriculture, fishing, hospitality, and aged care industries.
The Bolton Clarke aged care facility in Longreach, Queensland was one of the first approved employers with the Pacific Labour Scheme. It currently employs seven care workers from Kiribati.
The residents and staff members refer to the workers as being caring, genuine, always smiling, and having a great work ethic. As well as being trained in the technical aspects of aged care, they display inherent respect for older people that "cannot be taught".
"One of the challenges that we face within aged care is having workers that have a combination of the skills, but also the care for older people—and actually have it in their hearts", says former Bolton Clarke Workforce Resourcing Manager, Alison Boundy.
She says the Pacific Labour Scheme is a solution to the growing demand for workers in the Australian aged care sector, and the scheme's longer-term visas allow stable, long-term relationships between clients and residents and their caretakers.
It's a win for Australia's ageing people, who are getting high-quality, long-term care. It's a win for the workers from Kiribati, who are gaining new skills and a steady income to send back to their families. And it's a win for Australia, who need more workers to fill in labour gaps in multiple industries. The government is planning to expand the scheme to more industries in the future.
Palladium manages the implementation of the Pacific Labour Scheme under the Pacific Labour Facility. Click here for more information on Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Labour Mobility Programs.