The Federal Liberal National Government have delivered an Australian Agriculture visa that will address the immediate workforce shortage facing Australia’s farmers, and support the ongoing structural change in the agriculture workforce.
The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) has consistently called for the introduction of a dedicated agriculture visa which will allow workers from overseas to travel to Australia and work in agriculture. The Australian Agriculture visa will complement existing initiatives to recruit Australians, and the Pacific Mobility programs.
“As some of the largest employers in the horticulture sector, AFPA members have been developing a 10-year outlook on their workforce requirements. From this work, we know that developing a productive and returning workforce is key for all horticulture employers and the new visa announced today delivers another important pathway for growers to tap into a returning workforce” said AFPA Chair, Anthony Di Pietro.
The Australian Agriculture visa will be available to all agriculture sectors, including horticulture where the largest number of roles are short term, seasonal roles supporting the harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“It’s pleasing to see that the new Australian Agriculture visa seems to have taken into account that the agriculture sector has a variety of different workforce needs and is looking to accommodate all of these. In horticulture, we have a number of short term, highly seasonal roles that often see workers move to follow work. This is different to other sectors, like meat processing, which may have work in the same processing facility throughout a year” said Mr Di Pietro.
Outlined in today’s announcement is that a key component of the Australian Agriculture visa is the need for robust employer standards to ensure the welfare of future visa holders.
“Employers will be required to meet high standards to sponsor workers on this visa, and this is critical to the success of the Australian Agriculture visa. The AFPA have consistently advocated that this visa must focus on ensuring compliance with employment standards to ensure worker welfare and will continue to support this as a key part of the visa’s design” said Mr Di Pietro.
Citrus Australia welcomes new visa
Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock welcomes the Federal Government announcement that the Seasonal Workforce Agriculture Visa will be in place by September 30 this year.
“We recognise that Minister Littleproud has seized on the opportunity for industry and appreciate the Federal Government has now backed its implementation,” Mr Hancock told citrusaustralia.com.au.
Berries Australia content with new visa as well
Berries Australia has also welcomed the s announcement of the Agriculture visa.
Peter McPherson, Chair of Berries Australia, said the announcement was positive news for the berry sector which had been struggling to find harvest workers since the borders closed for COVID-19.
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