• The visa delivers on the Government’s commitment to put in place a broad ranging visa to support Australia’s primary industries.
• The visa will be available to skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers across a broad range of agricultural industries, including meat processing and the fishery and forestry sectors.
• To test the arrangements, a small number of countries will initially be invited to participate in the program and send workers through bilateral agreements. Additional countries will be added over time.
• The visa is being designed in close consultation with industry and will supplement the existing Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme (PALM Scheme). This Pacific program will remain the primary scheme for meeting agricultural workforce shortages, especially this summer peak harvest season.
• Details on application eligibility requirements will be established through the program design process in consultation with the Australian agricult

What happens on 30 September 2021?
The required amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 to enable the new visa are expected to be in place from 30 September. However, the final program design is being developed in consultation with industry.
The arrival of the first workers under this new scheme will occur in Phase 1 from late 2021, subject to quarantine

How do I participate in the agriculture visa program?
A phased approach to establishing the agriculture visa has been agreed with industry.
Phase 1 comprises a first small cohort of agriculture worker arrivals between December 2021 and March 2022, contingent on border settings, country readiness and quarantine availability. Recruitment under Phase 1 will be open only to a small number of existing Approved Employers who are already accredited and experienced with the existing PALM Scheme.
Phase 2, from April 2022, will see a steady increase in the number of employers participating in the agriculture visa, an increase in the number of workers recruited, and an expansion in the number of countries participating.

How will the visa program be structured?
The agriculture visa program will be demand driven. Key features of the Australian agriculture visa program mean that it will be:

  • underpinned by data on workforce demand and supply, and labour market testing
  • supported by strong program governance and oversight with minimum standards and safeguards built into the compliance and assurance framework and accommodation guidelines
  • available to skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers across the broad range of agricultural industries, as well as the meat processing, fishery and forestry sectors. Details on relevant sectors will be confirmed and iteratively brought on board
  • an employer-sponsored visa where employers hold obligations in relation to their foreign workers’ employment
  • able to respond to seasonal and longer-term workforce demands including through arrangements for workers to move between employers, while upholding workers’ rights and protections
  • able to support worker welfare and safety, including through minimum English language requirements
  • ensuring standards are in line with Australia’s successful Pacific worker programs, including requirements to protect workers from exploitation.

Can workers apply for permanent residency?
The Government has committed to exploring permanent residency pathways for participants in the program, including regional settlement. However, this will involve further consultation and design work. Further announcements on permanent residence pathways will be made as the program becomes operational in late 2021 and early 2022.

Source: https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/australian-agriculture-visa-fact-sheet.pdf

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