Government of Timor-Leste


Direccao Nacional Emprego Exterior

SEFOPE Factsheet 1- Seasonal Worker Program General Information

What is the Australian Seasonal Worker Program?

The program was set up by the Timor-Leste and Australian Governments to provide Timorese with opportunities to gain new skills and save money by working for short periods in Australia’s horticulture and hospitality industries. It also provides Australian employers with labour when they cannot find local workers to meet their needs.

The program is managed by the National Department of External Employ- ment within SEFOPE. A team of SEFOPE staff at the Labour Sending Unit man- age the program with support from the Timor-Leste Labour Attache team in Australia.

Signing ceremony of the MoU – 2011: between the Government of Timor-Leste and the Government of Australia on the 1st of December 2011.

12 Timorese workers were sent to Australia – 2012: To take jobs in the hospitality sector in Broome, Western Australia.

>1600 workers worked in Australia – 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I register for the program?

SEFOPE holds registration events in each munici- pality. These events are announced by SEFOPE in advance. At these events workers submit their regis- tration documents then take a series of tests. Those that pass then complete a ‘profile’ and go onto the work ready pool for potential selection by Australian employers. Registration is NOT open at other times.

2. What sort of skills  do I need?

Workers must be fit, aged between 21-45, with rea- sonable English skills, excellent behavior and work ethic. More specialised skills are needed for certain jobs e.g. driving, forklift operation.

3. How long does it take  to get work?

It can take between 6 months to 5 years for workers to move from the initial testing onto the work ready pool, then to be available for employers then select- ed for work. Some people who take the initial tests might not be selected if they don’t meet the needs of employers in Australia. If an employer indicates they would like to employ you it still may take some time for you to gather the documents, complete medical testing, police checks and other tasks.

4. What does a Health Examination involve?

All workers with contracts over 5 months must com- plete a Health Examination to get a Visa to go to Aus- tralia. The cost for doing a full examination is $295 and workers must pay for this. It is mandatory for an Aus- tralian Visa, SEFOPE cannot change this. Some medi- cal tests reveal the need for further tests including for Tuberculosis. This testing can take up to 5 months

For any enquiries regarding Seasonal Worker Program please send an email or visit Direcção Nacional Emprego Exterior Australian Labour Mobility Office in Becora.

SEFOPE office in Becora: Monday – Friday

8pm -12pm    : Internal work (not open to public)

2pm -5.30pm : Public enquiries

Email: Response will be given within 3 working days

5 Seasonal Worker Program Stages


  • Meet the eligibility criteria
  • Submit documents (education qualification, ID card, drivers license, character check, SEFOPE evidence card, training certificate)
  • Registered by Labour Sending Unit (LSU) team


  • Fitness test
  • English assessment
  • Colour blindness test


  • Complete a personal profile (resume, photos, passport, education documents)
  • May get access training to work ready skills training, e.g. English.


  • Employer sends request & workers criteria to LSU LSU sends long list from database
  • Employer selects final list and reserve candidates,
  • interview can be conducted ONLINE or FACE-to-FACE


  • Workers sign the offer letter
  • LSU facilitates Pre-Departure Briefing (PDB) and medical examination (see Factsheet 3)
  •  LSU submits your visa application
  •  If visa granted, employer sends your ticket


For more details information please download our SEFOPE Factsheet 1- Seasonal Worker Program General Information below:

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