Plans for Cambodian farm visa may be delayed by Australian unions and government

Cambodia’s hopes of sending workers to Australian farms are upset as Canberra drags its heels on a decision, while unions claim foreign labor is not needed.

A spokesperson from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated: “ The Australian Agriculture Visa program is in an initial stage. We are looking forward to first countries’ participation soon and are not intending to expand to other countries at this time, particularly at such an early stage of a new program. The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme will remain the primary scheme for meeting agricultural workforce shortages, especially this summer peak harvest season.”

These delays come as another government department warns of serious labor shortages on Australian farms. A spokesperson from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said there were indeed large shortages in Australia’ agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

The Agriculture Department said it had moved quickly to provide more workers by extending existing visas, expanding its Pacific labor programs and providing incentives for Australians to take farm jobs.

One Australian union insider said the Australian Agriculture Visa was not needed because the government has provided no independent evidence of labor shortages on the country’s farms. He cited the government’s own Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report on Labour Use in Australian Agriculture.

Source: khmertimeskh.com


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