A new agriculture visa announced today is set to provide a long-term, reliable workforce for our primary industries while solving one of regional Australia’s greatest challenges in recent history.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the visa is the biggest structural reform yet and will allow workers to get onto our farms and to provide the labour farmers need - short-term and long-term.
“This is the biggest structural reform to Australian agricultural labour in our nation's history and it's also about bringing the next generation of migrants to rural Australia, to grow agriculture and grow regional Australia because part of this is also putting in place a pathway to permanent residency,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The agriculture visa will be in place no later than 30 September this year, with the full implementation of this demand-driven visa complete within 3 years.”
Skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will be able to apply for the visa. It will include meat processing, fisheries, and forestry sectors, and provide a basis for the ongoing growth of our primary industries.
Since COVID-19 begun, international travel has come to a halt and borders across the nation have closed. The agriculture workforce shortage has been a major issue and cause for alarm.
“While our farmers and industries have gone about their work keeping Australians and the world fed and clothed, they have done so under workforce constraints,” Minister Littleproud said.
“With the changes to the Working Holiday Maker program as a result of the UKFTA, The Nationals knew this was the time to get the agriculture visa across the line.
“This is a structural change to the agricultural workforce. It gives our farmers a confidence to plant a crop and know that they’ll be able to get it into the supply chain.
“It will complement the Pacific programs we have got in place but also provide a pathway to permanent residency," said Littleproud.