More people are set to get government benefits in Australia after a visa change.
Legislation that passed the upper house on Tuesday will also give them access to the Family Tax Benefits and the Child Care Subsidy.
New residents can get access to social security like JobSeeker, but are subject to a waiting period of four years, according to Services Australia. Same for the Family Tax Benefit, however it is shorter at two years.
The government said the legislation change would help fill workforce gaps and strengthen ties with our geographical neighbours.
The Pacific Engagement Visa will allow up to 3,000 people from the Pacific and Timor-Leste to migrate to Australia as permanent residents each year in a ballot system like the United States Green Card Lottery. It will cost about $25 to enter the ballot.
A pilot program of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme will allow long-term workers to bring their families with them from next year.
"The measures will not only benefit individuals, families and employers, but also the broader region by providing economic and skills dividends," Pacific Minister Pat Conroy said.
Those holding a Pacific Engagement Visa won’t be automatically given Australian citizenship and will be treated the same as permanent-resident visa holders. They will be eligible to apply for citizenship after living in Australia for a continuous four-year period.