New visa flow for Australian farm workers aims to solve labor shortages

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In response to labor shortages in the agricultural sector, the Australian government has developed a specific stream of Australian agricultural workers under the Temporary Work Visa (International Relations) (subclass 403). The Agriculture Worker Stream, which was released on September 30, aims to complement Australia’s Pacific Labor Mobility Scheme (PALM Scheme).

Who is eligible?

The Australian Agriculture Worker stream has similar conditions to the Seasonal Worker program stream and the PALM program. It is accessible to workers and employers in a wide range of agricultural industries, including the meat processing, fishing and forestry sectors.

eligible worker?

A general requirement for this visa is that the worker must genuinely intend to stay in Australia temporarily for the purpose of working at the sponsored workplace and have sufficient means to support themselves during the intended period of stay. Applications will be open to applicants from a number of countries negotiated under bilateral agreements. This visa encourages foreign workers to work in Australia and gives them the option of applying for another subclass 403 visa while on shore.

eligible employer?

As an eligible employer, you must be an approved Temporary Activities Sponsor and be approved as a sponsor in the Australian Agricultural Workers Program.

objective of the agricultural workers stream

The central aim of the agricultural visa is to provide a greater supply of foreign workers to a critical Australian industry in response to labor shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers will have the opportunity to switch between employers to ensure minimum standards are maintained for workers’ well-being and safety, with the government promising strong governance and oversight of the program. Obtaining the visa will be dictated by the patterns of supply and demand within the workforce.

schedule for the agricultural worker stream

While recruitment for the first phase of workers is open to a small number of approved employers, recruitment for phase 2 will take place from April 2022. It is expected that phase 2 will see a marked increase in the number of workers. eligible employers and workers, subject to border parameters. and quarantine restrictions.

It should also be noted that the federal government has indicated that there may be a pathway to permanent residence through this stream.

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