The Government has stated the agriculture visa was needed to secure the labour force needed by Australian farmers both now and into the future.
A new seasonal agriculture worker visa has now been ratified as part of the give and take of negotiations with the UK over the FTA, UK backpackers will no longer be required to fulfil a period of time working in the agriculture sector.
The visa will also be extended to all ten ASEAN countries in view of our close and longstanding economic ties with the region.
The new seasonal agricultural worker visa will mirror the existing Seasonal Worker Programme and will add to the pool of workers available to work on Australian farms.
Pacific worker programs have and will continue to play a critical role in our agriculture sector and the new visa arrangement is hoped to build on the success of these arrangements.
Like the Seasonal Worker Programme, the new visa arrangement will have protections to ensure workers are protected, not subject to exploitation and that the visa is not misused.
Pay and conditions, health, and work and safety will also be in line with similar requirements and protections under the Seasonal Worker Programme.
The new visa will also set up the industry for the future and will address a key brake for many of agriculture industries – the availability of labour.
The Australian Government says it will work to have the new visa in place before the end of the 2021.