Tuvalu is one of the world’s smallest independent nations. It is made up of nine low-lying coral atolls with a total surface area of 26 square kilometres dispersed over 1.3 million square kilometres, midway between Hawaii and Australia in the central Pacific.
Tuvalu’s population is approximately 11,000, with about half living on the atoll of Funafuti, which is also the capital. English is the official language, and the currency is Australian dollars.
Most of Tuvalu’s population is involved in subsistence fishing and agriculture. Remittances from seafarers working on overseas vessels are a significant (but declining) source of income for many families.
The nation’s highest point reaches just 4.5 metres above sea level, and soil salination from rising sea levels is threatening traditional subsistence farming.
Tuvaluan workers have had a lot of involvement and prior experience working in labour mobility programs in both Australia and New Zealand.
They have qualifications and skills across a range of industries relevant to Australian employers.
Tuvalu workers’ experience typically includes:
Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute
The Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute (TMTI) trains around 90 cadets each year to work on international cargo ships.
Thousands of Tuvaluans work abroad as seamen, cooks and marine engineers. Tuvalu also has a large pool of skilled workers available to be deployed to fill labour gaps in Australia.
The TMTI offers courses such as Safety Certificate, Ship Security Certificate, Deck Watch and Engineering Watch.
Tuvaluan graduates meet the requirements to work as general-purpose seafarers on ships trading worldwide. They are fit, disciplined, and have good English language skills.
To recruit workers through the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) or the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), an Australian employer must be registered as an Approved Employer, or they must recruit workers through a labour-hire firm that is already an Approved Employer.
To find out more about becoming an Approved Employer, visit the SWP employer information page on the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business website or the PLS employer information page.
Once approved, you can recruit workers from Tuvalu through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour. Contact the Department of Labour by phone (+688 20117) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
The Australian Government has two visa schemes available for Tuvalu nationals to work in Australia.
The Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) provides access to unskilled work opportunities for up to nine months in the Australian agricultural and accommodation sectors (in selected locations).
The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) enables citizens of Tuvalu to take up low-skilled and semi-skilled work in rural and regional Australia for one to three years.
To join the Seasonal Worker Programme or the Pacific Labour Scheme, an applicant must:
It is free to join the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme.