A new agricultural visa for Australia

The Australian Government has announced a new agricultural visa looking to be implemented in the second half of 2021.

The visa is aimed at addressing the ever-increasing shortage of farm workers. With the borders closed the traditional backpacker army who assisted the agricultural sector has been significantly curtailed.

Who will qualify for the new agricultural visa?

Interestingly, the visa is open to citizens of the United Kingdom which follows on from the new free trade agreement which was announced by Prime Minister’s Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson in June this year.

Scott Morrison has stated Australia is seeking an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the United Kingdom that will include trade in goods and services, investment, economic growth and pleasingly job creation.

The other countries are all part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and include:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Phillipines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

It is envisaged that the new visa will allow workers to come and work in the Australian agricultural sector undertaking seasonal work for up to three years. The workers will be required to return home for three months each year.

There is potential for it to be extended to other countries but not in the first instance.

This visa will complement the Pacific labour scheme seasonal worker programme which already assists in addressing worker shortages in rural and regional Australia. That particular visa provides an opportunity for Pacific island and Timorese workers to gain valuable experience and support their families and communities. The participating Pacific island countries are Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud said, “the new visa arrangement will have protections to ensure workers are protected, not subject to exploitation and that the visa is not misused. Pay and conditions, health, and work and safety will also be in line with similar requirements and protections under the Seasonal Worker Programme.

How can FC Lawyers help?

At FC Lawyers our expert team including accredited specialists and migration agents have assisted many agricultural businesses with their employment needs and applicant workers.

Contact our team to discuss your requirements.