AUSVEG, the peak industry body for Australia’s vegetable growers, has welcomed the announcement that the Federal Government will make a new agriculture work visa available to all 10 countries across Southeast Asia.
The new visa would provide a wider pool of workers available to Australian agriculture from the UK and the ten ASEAN countries and will help to meet ongoing seasonal workforce gaps that continue through the pandemic.
According to the announcement from Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the new seasonal agricultural worker visa would mirror the existing Seasonal Worker Programme and will add to the pool of workers available to work on Australian farms.
“The horticulture industry has been calling for a dedicated and productive workforce for many years, and this morning’s announcement is great news for the sector,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle.
“The ASEAN countries are some of our closest trading partners, so extending the Agriculture Visa to these countries makes economic sense and demonstrates our commitment to helping our regional neighbours.”
“What we need now is timely action to get this visa class up and running so that we can start bringing in workers as soon as possible when borders open up and international workers are able to enter the country.”
“While we await more details around the visa arrangements for this visa class, we understand the new visa will build on the successful Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visas that have proved invaluable to the agriculture sector over the past 12 months.”
“This announcement is a positive development in our industry’s calls for a dedicated labour source to harvest and package fruits and vegetables.”
Australian Fresh Produce Alliance
The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) welcomes the announcement of the introduction of a dedicated seasonal agriculture worker visa made by Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud.
The AFPA has previously called for a dedicated Harvest Work Visa with the objective of recognising the role temporary migrants play in the horticulture industry and reducing reliance on the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) or backpacker scheme.
“The majority of the 65,000 harvest roles in fresh produce are filled by visa holders, a growing number of these are returning workers from the Pacific and Australians, but overwhelmingly these roles are filled by backpackers. Industry’s reliance on backpackers and the risk this presents has been highlighted during the pandemic,” said AFPA CEO, Michael Rogers.
Citrus Australia also welcomed the news of a new seasonal agriculture worker visa applicable to all 10 ASEAN countries.
However, Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock says the Federal Government must implement the agriculture visa this year to ensure growers are no worse off under changes made under the UK Free Trade Agreement.
For more information:
Mobile: + 61 0405 977 789