Backpacker information

Work in Queensland – information for seasonal workers, including temporary visa holders

Everyone has a general obligation to help keep themselves, their neighbours and their community as safe as possible from coronavirus (COVID-19). You must follow Queensland’s public health directions for COVID-19 if you wish to work in Queensland.

You must observe the latest travel and health advice from the Australian Government, and visa information.

Looking for work

A range of seasonal work opportunities are available in Queensland’s agribusiness and commercial fishing industries for temporary visa holders and seasonal workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these opportunities will be located in regional areas across Queensland.

Job matching services through Jobs Finder Queensland and Harvest Trail provide important services to connect seasonal and local job seekers with agricultural work while limiting unnecessary travel.

Harvest work is seasonal and includes many different jobs like picking fruit and vegetables, working in packing sheds, canneries and other processing plants or factories, or pruning and planting. Find more information about harvest work opportunities in Queensland.

Workers must provide their employer with a record of their work history and accommodation details for the 14 days prior to commencing work with a new business (including quarantine compliance if relevant). Employers will be required to undertake daily checks of their employees to determine the presence/absence of COVID-19 symptoms.

Your employer is also required to have submitted a workplace health management plan.

Moving between jobs

If you are already in Queensland, you should secure employment before you move into a new area. If you are looking for seasonal work, it is really important you do not show up to a farm. A better way is to register your availability at Harvest Trail. You can also phone the National Harvest Labour Information Service on 1800 062 332.

Find out more information about travelling into and within Queensland for work.

Where to stay

Before travelling to Queensland for work you must find employment and accommodation.

If you can’t find accommodation, you may not be able to take up the employment. Talk to your employer to see if there is anything they can do to assist you to find accommodation.

Find out more information on the best places for workers to look for accommodation in Queensland , and the requirements accommodation providers must follow to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among their guests and the community. You will need to provide a record of the locations you visited and accommodation details for the 14 days prior to accessing the accommodation.

Overnight stays

When travelling into or around Queensland, you will need to secure overnight accommodation before you start your journey.

National park campgrounds in Queensland are currently closed and staying overnight in public areas, such as carparks, parks, beachfronts and riversides, is not permitted.

Remember to always stay with accommodation providers, such as caravan parks, hostels, backpacker providers and hotels.

Find more information on where to stay when travelling into and within Queensland .

Travelling into and within Queensland

If you want to work in agribusiness or commercial fishing in Queensland during COVID-19, you must:

If you are currently interstate, to enter Queensland to begin work you will require the following documentation:

  • a completed Queensland border pass
  • a letter/email from your employer proving that you have secured work, including your start date and period of employment
  • accommodation details proving you have accommodation organised in Queensland
  • a record of your work and residence in the last 14 days.

If you have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot at any time within the past 14 days, you will be required to self-quarantine at your own expense for 14 days on arrival prior to commencing work. You may choose to self-quarantine prior to entering Queensland, however you must provide documentation from the interstate health authority at the border crossing.

Additional restrictions are in place for entry to remote communities in Queensland.

View the latest information about border restrictions.

Health advice and requirements

Self-quarantine

If you have secured employment in agribusiness or commercial fishing in Queensland, are entering Queensland from interstate, and you have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot at any time within the last 14 days, you must self-quarantine at your own expense for 14 days prior to commencing work. You can self-quarantine in Queensland or before you enter, as long as you can provide documentation from an interstate health authority.

Self-quarantine means staying in your hotel room or provided accommodation and not going to public places or accepting visitors even if you do not feel sick.

You will also be required to self-quarantine if you think you have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

If you are suspected to have breached your self-quarantine it may result in your visa being cancelled, receiving fines of up to $13,345 and other penalties.

If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should contact a doctor or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Find more information about self-quarantine requirements.

At work and in the community

Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of disease. When at work and in the community you should keep 1.5 metres away from others as much as possible.

You should also:

  • stay home if you are sick
  • wash hands regularly
  • avoid gatherings that aren’t essential.

Visit Queensland Health for the latest health information and instructions. 

Join the Australian Government WhatsApp group for the latest news and advice.

Workplace health and safety

For employers still able to trade, they must implement appropriate controls to manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Three key things your employer must do:

  • maintain good hygiene and cleanliness of the workplace
  • implement physical distancing – keeping everyone at the workplace at least 1.5 metres physically apart
  • use protective personal equipment (PPE) appropriately – where necessary.

Before an agribusiness, commercial fishing business or labour hire firm employs seasonal workers they must submit a workplace health management plan.

How to apply for visa extension

If you are in Australia on a visa, youmust apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You may be​​​ eligible to be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your visa application. See what you need to do to stay longer.

The majority of temporary visa holders, who are eligible to seek employment with an agribusiness or commercial fishing operator, include:

  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) Pacific Labour scheme stream.
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) Seasonal Worker Program stream.
  • Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa
  • Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa
  • Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream.

Some services relating to the visa application process​ may be impacted by COVID-19.

International students

If you hold a student visa, you must follow the same guidelines as other non-permanent residents for accommodation, transport and confirmation of work.

Compliance for temporary visa holders

The continued breaching of COVID-19 public health directions may result in your visa being cancelled.

Referrals for visa non-compliance are to be reported to the Queensland Police Service (QPS)The QPS can issue on-the-spot fines of $1,334 for individuals for failing to abide by the public health directions. If a person does not comply with quarantine directions, penalties of up to $13,345 for individuals may apply.

Report suspicious activity to the QPS.

Any community member can make an online report of suspected illegal or criminal immigration, visa, customs and trade activity to the Department of Home Affairs through Border Watch.

More information

Last updated:
2 May 2020