Workers from Vanuatu, a country with more than one hundred different cultures and languages, are skilled in agriculture, horticulture, hospitality and tourism, and meat processing work.

Find out how to recruit workers

Where is Vanuatu?

Vanuatu consists of a chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands. 

Around 252,000 people live in Vanuatu, with one-fifth of the population living in the capital of Port Vila and the majority (76 per cent) living in villages of less than 200 people. 

The people of Vanuatuwhich means “land eternal”are largely Melanesian. They are called ni-Vanuatu, which means “of Vanuatu”. 

Ni-Vanuatu have lived in these islands for centuries and more than 100 distinctly different cultures and languages still thrive in Vanuatu. 

Vanuatu has three official languagesBislama (pidgin English), French and Englishand more than 113 distinct languages and innumerable dialects.

Vanuatu is recognised as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.

Dances, ceremonies, status and systems of authority, artistic styles, animal and crop husbandry can vary from island to island, and often from district to district. These cultural traditions are known as kastom (or custom).

Elaine Luankon from Vanuatu working in hospitality at Cable Beach Resort, Western Australia.

The Vanuatu Government’s Employment Service Unit (ESU) coordinates the recruitment process for the Pacific Labour Scheme. 

The Vanuatu Government is committed to providing Australian employers in the agriculture, apiculture, horticulture, hospitality meat processing and viticulture sectors with the highest quality workforce. 

The strength of this commitment is demonstrated through the ESU’s rigorous recruitment processes and pre-departure training to ensure workers are mentally focused, productive and have a strong work ethic. 

Agriculture and horticulture

Vanuatu’s economy is primarily agriculture based. In Vanuatu, 80 per cent of the population depends entirely on subsistence agriculture for their daily sustenance and wellbeing.

The other 20 per cent of the population are based in urban areas but still rely on agricultural products from market centres. 

The key crops that contribute to Vanuatu’s gross domestic product are copra, cocoa, kava, and these are largely supplied by subsistence farming.

Agriculture and horticulture play an important role in providing the daily livelihoods of ni-Vanuatu people.   

Hospitality and tourism

Vanuatu is a very popular tourist destination and tourism in Vanuatu is a key driver of the country’s economy.

Graduates from the Australia Pacific Technical Coalition in Vanuatu are qualified to pursue careers across many aspects of the tourism sector.  

Ni-Vanuatu workers are typically skilled and experienced in the following hospitality and tourism roles: 

  • front of house  
  • accommodation services   
  • housekeeping  
  • chefs, commis chefs, cooks and kitchen hands 
  • waiters  
  • stewards
  • food and beverage serving. 

Meat processing

Vanuatu’s cattle industry includes around 35 commercial cattle farmers, all of whom have large herds that supply most of the beef both to the formal market for domestic consumption and for export. 

All cattle for the formal market are slaughtered and processed through the two modern abattoirs in Port Vila and Santo, which are certified to export to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and other Pacific island countries.

To recruit workers under 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 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, employers can recruit workers through the Vanuatu Employment Service Unit (ESU), Department of Labour. To contact the ESU, phone (+678 33135) or email ( (SWP) or (PLS)).

The Australian Government has two visa schemes available for ni-Vanuatu 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 Vanuatu to take up low-skilled and semi-skilled work in rural and regional Australia for one to three years. 

For information about the SWP or the PLS, contact the Employment Services Unit, Department of Labour by phone (+678 33135) or by email ( (SWP) or (PLS)).

Alternatively, you can obtain details of our registered recruitment agents by contacting the Employment Service Unit.

To join the Seasonal Worker Programme, an applicant must: 

  • hold a valid passport 
  • be physically fit and healthy
  • be of good character
  • be a Vanuatu citizen 
  • have a genuine reason to enter Australia for seasonal work and to return to Vanuatu after the contract ceases 
  • be committed to undertaking self-employable opportunities upon returning to Vanuatu, using the skills, knowledge and savings acquired in Australia.

To join the Pacific Labour Scheme, an applicant must: 

  • be between 2145 years old 
  • hold a valid passport for the duration of the contract
  • be physically fit and healthy for the work specified
  • have no police criminal record (workers who have lived in a foreign country for 12 months or more after the age of 16, or who have worked on a foreign ship for 12 months or more, require a police check from that country)
  • be of good character 
  • have qualifications and/or work experience required by employers, where relevant 
  • have a very high standard of English  
  • demonstrate a positive attitude to work and a willingness to learn and commit to the employer’s values. 

It is free to join the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme.

For information about the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), contact the Employment Services Unit, Department of Labour by phone (+678 33135) or by email ( (SWP). 

Alternatively, you can obtain details of our SWP registered recruitment agents by contacting the Employment Service Unit.

For information about the PLS, contact the Employment Services  Unit by phone (+678 33135) and watch for specific PLS recruitment advertisements in the newspaper.

View more countries participating in the Pacific Labour Scheme