Global labour, local frameworks: Timor-Leste and Australiaʼs Seasonal Worker Programme

In 2018–19 some 12,000 people from the Pacific and Timor-Leste came to Australia with its Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), part of a worldwide trend towards labour mobility. The ways in which Timorese workers use the money earned individually within the SWP are shaped by broadly collectivist frameworks for understanding wealth and work embedded in their home communities. Drawing on fieldwork in Timor-Leste and the literature on livelihood seeking and governance there, this article shows how for most Timorese in the SWP the impact of international work is mediated by local custom.