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Australian Agriculture Minister Proposes Farm Worker Visa

22 Sep 2018

David Littleproud, The Federal Minister for Agriculture, announced regarding having a New Farm Workers Visa is his top priority. Moreover, this will be in time for the present picking season.

He was meeting the Minister for Immigration, regarding introducing a fresh Skilled Worker Visa specifically to recruit farm workers during the picking period. It lasts from May to August.  Additionally, the new proposal has come with the fact that agriculture was presently experiencing shortage of labor, for picking.  Finally, having an agricultural visa can address this great necessity.  The farmers and the farm workers must not struggle through different types of visas.

Features of the Farm Worker Visa

Presently, this proposal involves a short-term visa with the provision for multiple-entry. There will be no labor market testing or sponsorship requirement. Moreover, the workers will have the freedom to move between employers in the agricultural sector.
The President of the Farmers Federation, Fiona Simson, feels that in case this new agricultural visa is not introduced early the growers will face a lot of trouble in attracting the workers essential for fruit picking season.

An Agricultural Visa will specifically overcome acute skill shortages faced by agriculture. It will also answer the problems of fruit pickers and packers. The agricultural sector heavily relies on migrant labor, which is for a short-term or for a season only. The agricultural tasks are not attractive to local workers. They prefer a long term career and moreover have continuing financial commitments.

It has several benefits

The citrus will be a big winner in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement for Indonesia and Australia. The nectarine growers will also benefit with better access to China. There is a need to have the people to get fruit from its origin to the plate.

Portability is very important for the success of this visa, where entrants will have the freedom, of moving between employers, in the agricultural sector.

Only such employers, who have sustainable practices, at the workplace, should access these visa workers. A nice way for achieving this will be the implementation of the Fair Farms Certification Scheme.

Compliance, payment, and well-being

The proposed Agricultural Visa must have a compliance system that can be enforced. Owing to the large scale exploitation, in the agricultural sector, there is a necessity to protect the sponsored workers.

Similar to the Fishing Industry, there must be a specific labor agreement for the Agricultural Industry. Some Authority must be responsible for the payment, and well-being of these workers.

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