Today we are announcing the creation of the Australian Farm Visa to build on existing successful Pacific programs.
This visa addresses labor shortages in the agriculture and primary industry sectors, and recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker program developed under the UK Free Trade Agreement -Australia.
The Australian Agriculture visa will be available to workers in the agriculture (including meat processing), fishing and forestry sectors and will provide a basis for the continued growth of Australia’s primary industries as they grow. strive to reach $ 100 billion in value by 2030.
The program will be managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, building on the strong results of the Pacific labor mobility programs.
The government will immediately begin consultations with industry to understand the needs across the agricultural sector. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Interior and Agriculture, Water and Environment will design the visa to ensure a high degree of integrity and protection for workers. We will also work closely with partner governments, including our Pacific family, to ensure their interests are protected.
The regulations allowing the creation of the Australian agricultural visa will be in place by the end of September 2021. The operation of the visa will depend on negotiations with partner countries.
The government’s primary and growing method of dealing with agricultural labor shortages is the existing Seasonal Workers Program (SWP) and Pacific Work Program (PLS), and the new visa program will build on these. By March 2022, the number of Pacific and Timorese workers in Australia will double to surpass 24,000. These workers are highly valued by Australian industry and are essential to Australia’s horticultural and food processing sectors. meat, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian agricultural visa will be open to applicants from a range of countries negotiated under bilateral agreements. The full conditions will be developed and implemented over the next 3 years as the visa becomes operational. During this implementation period, we will work to achieve a demand-driven approach and consider permanent residency pathways and regional settlement.
Quarantine places remain the biggest constraint on bringing in foreign workers where there are no Australians to fill labor shortages. The government is working closely with states and territories to ensure that we can meet future workforce needs in all sectors.