16 October, 2021
Ag visa to help grow regional Australia
A new nation first Ag visa is set to help labour shortage across Australia
AUSTRALIAN farmers have let out a sigh of relief after the Agricultural Worker visa regulations were recently created, responding to ongoing workforce shortages in the industry.
This new visa will allow farmers access to workers well into the future to work on banana, avocado, mango farms and many more including fisheries.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said the new visa will bring the next generations of migrants to not just grow agriculture but regional Australia.
“The Ag Visa will be the biggest structural change to agricultural workforce in our nation’s history,” he said.
“It will provide a long-term, reliable workforce for our critical industries while solving one of regional Australia’s greatest challenges in recent history.
“It will be open to applicants from a range of countries and we are already in talks with a number of countries in our region who are eager to participate.”
Mareeba farmer and Chair of FNQ Growers Joe Moro said that the new visa will not immediately create an increase in workers until COVID restrictions are lifted.
“This means that there is finally a visa we can use to attract workers from south-east Asia and it gives us the opportunity to attract another bunch of people that have never been able to be brought into the country through a visa premise,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it won’t be until some of the health issues are resolved but it is good news that we have.
“There are some restrictions where the visa will only be able to be used by those that have approved supplier programs, which means only the bigger players will probably have access to these workers, second stage it will open up more.”
The regulation provides a new Australian Agriculture Worker stream which will provide for the entry and temporary stay of workers across primary industries sectors.
This provides the pathway for workers to arrive with first worker arrivals once partner country negotiations are complete. Any workers will also need to meet necessary Federal and State quarantine requirements.
The new visa stream came into effect on September 30 and will be available to workers from countries where there is a bilateral agreement, providing for their entry and stay across primary industry sectors.