Ag visa moves forward

 
NSW Farmers has welcomed news that an Australian Agricultural Visa (Ag Visa) is set to finally become reality from 30 September 2021. 

The new Ag Visa will widen the recruitment opportunities of low to skilled workers from participating countries, which the Association understands will initially be open to ASEAN countries. 

NSW Farmers Horticulture Committee chair Guy Gaeta said the Association has loudly joined the chorus of calls from farming groups for an Ag Visa as pandemic-induced travel restrictions have intensified the need for long-term solutions to address farm labour shortages.  

“An Ag Visa is just what we need for our sector. The horticulture industry has been calling for a dedicated and productive workforce to harvest and package fruit and vegetables for many years, so this announcement is great news,” Mr Gaeta said. 

“Last year we just managed to get through our harvest but now we’re coming into harvest in September and we need people again – the whole industry needs people starting at the summer for six months.” 

“I do thank the Federal Agriculture Minister for his efforts in getting this up and running this year. It’s important to get it started after recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker program developed as part of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement.” 

The Ag Visa program will be operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Regulations to enable the creation of the Australian Agriculture visa will be in place by the end of September 2021. Operation of the visa will depend on negotiations with partner countries.

NSW Farmers looks forward to consulting with Government to ensure the program is fit for purpose in meeting the workforce needs across all of industry.

Date: Monday, 23 August 2021
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au