Farmers and primary producers in North East Victoria are a step closer to benefitting from the Liberal and National Government’s new Australian Agriculture Worker Visa.
The Government amended the Migration Regulations on 30 September 2021 to create the Australian Agriculture Worker Visa (Ag Visa) and continue along the pathway of providing an agriculture visa that will help secure the future of rural and regional Australia.
This historic announcement that the Ag Visa is now law ensures the visa will help secure the long-term labour force our farmers in regional Victoria need.
Nationals Senate Leader and Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie said the Agriculture Visa will also create a pathway to permanent residency for those workers who will help secure the future of our region.
“We promised this Visa and here it is. The creation of the Ag Visa under the Migration Regulations is landmark moment for the sector and delivers on our promise to have it in place this year,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Ag Visa will be the biggest structural change to agricultural workforce in our nation’s history and producers here in North East Victoria are poised to be able to grab the benefits with both hands.
“The visa will be available to seasonal workers, skilled and semiskilled workers.
“It’s not just those on the farm that benefit, the fisheries, forestry and agricultural processing sectors will also get access to workers under this visa.
“Worker restrictions have always been a problem, but it has been taken to the next level with COVID and the subsequent international and internal borders.
“We now have a visa that will give our region a long-term, reliable workforce for our agricultural industries.
“The Liberals and Nationals will always stand up for regional and rural Australia, and with this Agriculture Visa we have again delivered.”
Today’s regulation provides a new Australian Agriculture Worker stream which will provide for the entry and temporary stay of workers across primary industries sectors.
This provides the pathway for workers to arrive with first worker arrivals once partner country negotiations are complete. Any workers will also need to meet necessary Federal and State quarantine requirements.
- The Migration Amendment (Australian Agriculture Workers) Regulations 2021 amends the Migration Regulations 1994 and: o Creates a new Australian Agriculture Worker Stream in the Subclass 403 (Temporary Work (International Relations)) visa;
- The new visa stream came into effect on 30 September 2021;
- Provides for the entry and temporary stay of workers across primary industries sectors; and
- Be available to workers from countries that where there is a bilateral agreement in place.
- The Ag Visa will be operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, leveraging their experience managing the successful Pacific Labour Scheme.
- The Department of Home Affairs and Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will provide operational support to ensure a high degree of integrity and that the needs of the agriculture and primary industry sectors are being met.
- An independent review of the program will be undertaken after two years.
- Further details and a fact sheet are available here.