When will the Australian Agriculture Visa be rolled out?
The short answer is, reasonably soon.
And the long answer following the short vague one is, a longer vague one :)
On 23 August 2021, the government announced the Australian Agricultural Visa to address labour shortages in the agricultural sector.
The Australian agricultural visa is designed for key industry sectors including horticulture, meat processing, dairy, wool, grains, fisheries (including aquaculture), and forestry. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will manage the project, drawing on experience in operating the Pacific Labor Scheme.
The Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Worker Program will remain the primary source of temporary migrant workers for Australia's agricultural sector. The Australian Agricultural Visa will fill any labor shortages that Australian and Pacific workers cannot meet.
Recruiting workers under the new visa
The government will announce more program details, including the application process to employers, after a formal consultation with the industry. It started as soon as the government announced it.
Applying for the new visa
Details on how to apply and eligibility requirements will be determined as part of the program design process in consultation with the industry. Information on the visa application process will be posted on the website of the Department of Home Affairs once the process is completed.
Availability of the Australian Agriculture visa
The government is working closely with the industry to design the program by building on successful workforce programs in the Pacific
Negotiated through bilateral agreements, Australian agricultural visas will be open to applicants from different countries. The first workers will arrive after negotiations with the sending countries and quarantine agreements are agreed upon and completed.
The legislative framework of Australian Agricultural Visa begins on September 30, 2021.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will negotiate bilaterally with selected countries to participate in the Australian Farmers Programme. More countries will be added over time.
Access to a permanent residence pathway
The government is committed to exploring permanent residency pathways for program participants, including regional settlement. However, this will involve significant additional design and consulting work.
Recruiting workers for upcoming harvests
The Pacific Worker Program will continue to be the preferred source of temporary migrant workers for Australia's agricultural sector.
The government's pledge to double the number of workers in the Pacific to 25,000 in Australia by March 2022 means more workers will be available to fill a severe labor shortage for next harvest season.
Feel free to book in a consultation for detailed advice and steps!