Overview

Is there any agriculture visa to get PR in Australia? 

The Austrlaian Agriculture visa program is being introduced to address workforce shortages in the agriculture sector. It is a stream of the Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa.

  • The program delivers on the Government’s commitment to put in place a good workforce to support the growth of Australia’s agricultural industries.
  • Employees across a range of agricultural sectors and skill levels can enjoy the benefit of Agriculture Visa program
  • Australia is still waiting for Bilateral agreements with a small number of countries in Southeast Asia. Discussions with Indonesia are advanced. Details are expected to be finalised shortly.
  • The Agriculture Visa is a sponsored visa program, operating with APPROVED EMPLOYERS and robust worker protections.
  • Workers have their own flexibility and right to move between approved employers without compromising workforce standards and undermining worker protections.

Australia Government is doing everything to protect the work right of both labour force and employers in agricultural sector.

Who is eligible for agriculture visa Australia?

The Federal Government has said the Australian Agriculture Visa will be open to residents of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and certain, yet to be confirmed, Pacific Island Nations. The current member nations of ASEAN are:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Vineyard Grapes

ASEAN member countries

How do I participate in the Agriculture Visa program as an Australian employer?

  • There is industry agreement between the Australian government and employers in Australia about approaching the program.
  • The foreign minister is working with a selected group of employers to bring in a small initial group of employees. This will allow us to test systems and processes before the program’s expansion throughout 2022.
    • ­Employer application and eligibility requirements for the expanded phase are expected to be published on DFAT’s Agriculture Visa program website when they are confirmed in April 2022

 

How will the process of approving employers be managed under Agriculture Visa program?

The Agriculture Visa is a managed (sponsored) visa. ­

  • Employers directly recruiting employees from overseas will need to be approved to participate in the program and as a Temporary Activity Sponsor (TAS) under the Migration Regulations 1994. For more information on TAS see: Become a sponsor Temporary activities sponsor (homeaffairs.gov.au) ­
  • Under portability arrangements, employers who wish to employ agriculture visa holders who are already in Australia need to be approved to participate in the program but are not required to be a TAS.

All participating employers will have to meet a series of requirements including:

      1. becoming an Approved Employer under the Agriculture Visa program by:

  1. showing evidence that they are currently an Approved Employer under the PALM Scheme; OR
  2. showing evidence that they are currently accredited under an endorsed industry accreditation scheme, with a financial solvency and Fair Work Ombudsman workplace compliance history check; OR
  3. applying to become an approved employer under the Agriculture Visa program application process, with a financial solvency and Fair Work Ombudsman workplace compliance history check.

      2. signing a Deed of Agreement. Following approval, employers will sign a Deed of Agreement with DFAT that sets out their obligations as                  participants in the program including employee protections, conditions and standards.

Once employers are approved to participate in the Agriculture Visa program and have signed the Deed of Agreement, the process of recruiting employees under the Agriculture Visa involves: ­

  • providing evidence to DFAT of labour market testing; ­
  • submitting a recruitment plan and an accommodation and transport plan to DFAT; ­
  • providing employees with an offer of employment that sets out information about the nature of the employment, pay and conditions and any portability arrangements; ­
  • managing recruitment arrangements in line with program guidelines (note: predeparture briefing will be provided to visa holders that includes information on life, culture and workplace rights in Australia and rights and obligations under the Agriculture visa program}. ­
  • after these requirements have been met, employers must:
  1. arrange visas and travel for employees;
  2. offer DFAT-approved accommodation options
  3. provide an on-arrival briefing, invite the Fair Work Ombudsman and the relevant union representative to be present.

Compliance and monitoring arrangements will be key to the program’s implementation.

What are the requirements to apply for Agriculture Visa program 2021/2022?

Initial applications from workers to participate in the Agricultural Visa program will need to be completed offshore.

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be able to participate in the Agriculture Visa program: ­

  • have the necessary skills to perform in the occupation in which they are being employed (where relevant); ­
  • have minimum English language skills IELTS of 4.0 overall or equivalent (or higher when the specific occupation requires it); ­
  • be unaccompanied (participants will not be able to bring family members); ­
  • meet the minimum age requirement of 21 years of age with no maximum age requirement; ­ 
  • being sponsored to Australia by a Temporary Activities Sponsor (TAS) who is an employer approved by DFAT to participate in the program;
  • being supported by DFAT to participate in the program;
  • meeting all character and health requirements; and
  • having adequate health insurance for the period of stay in Australia.

You must meet the following requirements when you apply for the Agriculture visa:

  • proof of intention to perform agricultural work for the bulk of your time in Australia;
  • proof of any skills you have in agriculture or food/textile processing facilities.

You should be outside of Australia when you submit the visa and when the visa is granted.

What sectors and skills are covered by the Agriculture Visa program?

There over a hundred types of farm jobs for agricultural visitors. Most of these positions are picking, packing and processing of fruits such as blueberries, mangoes and citrus. Opportunities depending on your skills and experience could include:

  • Dairy farming;
  • Cotton harvesting;
  • Vegetable picking;
  • Livestock care;
  • Medicinal marijuana farming;
  • Solar farming;
  • Grain harvesting;
  • Meat processing;
  • Commercial fishing;
  • Forestry maintenance
  1. The Agriculture Visa program will target skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled employees within specified occupations across these sectors.
  2. In the initial phase, recruitment will focus on lower skilled occupations, and this will be expanded as the program evolves.
  3. Employees must have the experience and/or qualifications to commence work at the skill level and occupation for which they are recruited (where relevant).

Will the Agriculture Visa program have a maximum number of overseas employees?

It was planned by National party that Agriculture Visa program will be uncapped  in the number of agricultural workers who can come in Australia from ASEAN countries. With its fear of people smugglers and undermining of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme, It has been limited to only 1000 workers as of now

Caps will be reviewed annually in consultation with sending countries which will be linked to annual migration review

  • This will help build up the agriculture workforce demand and supply gap without humiliating other schemes or reduce illegal activities from outside the country.
  • Final decisions will be made by the Australian Government

Will employees be able to move between employers?

  • Yes, portability between different approved employers will be a feature of the program for the seasonal cohort. Initially, portability will need to be agreed prior to workers’ arrival in Australia. Other models will be explored as the program expands.
  • The program will enable employees under the seasonal cohort to move between approved employers, under an arrangement approved by DFAT, during their period of stay. It can be up to 4 years for visa holders in the long-term cohort
  • The design seeks to benefit both employers and employees, and the informed consent of employees is fundamental:
    • Employees must agree to each movement upfront, prior to movement, and sign a letter of offer outlining role, location, pay and conditions.
    • Portability provides employers with access to workers for short-term periods and assists them to manage seasonal work demands.
  • As the program evolves, further models for portability will be explored and tested with stakeholders with a review of portability arrangements to occur after the first year of program implementation.

Can Agriculture Visa holders apply for permanent residency?

The Agriculture visa will provide a long-term, reliable workforce to support ongoing growth of Australia’s critical agricultural industries as they strive to reach $100 billion in value by 2030.

The Government has committed to creating options for permanent residence pathways for participants in the program, including regional settlement, acknowledging that this will involve further consultation and design work.

The Government will make announcements on permanent residence pathways in due course.

Will the Agriculture Visa program require domestic labour market testing?

Yes, definitely. Employers will be required to demonstrate that they have sought Australian workers for the positions advertised prior to being able to recruit agriculture visa workers for the roles.

Will employers be required to arrange accommodation to a set standard for employees under the Agriculture Visa?

Under the program, employers must offer employees suitable and affordable accommodation, to support employees’ initial settling-in period in Australia.

 Before offering employment, employers must ensure that the accommodation meets minimum standards and has been approved by DFAT. ­

DFAT will assess accommodation, against the requirements set out in the Employer Guidelines, to ensure it is safe and secure, meets any Work Health and Safety or state and territory legislation, costs are fair and transparent, and the accommodation is fit for purpose and in good condition.

DFAT will recognise accommodation that has been approved under the PALM scheme.

 Employees may elect to arrange their own accommodation after they are in Australia. ­

In these situations, it will be the employee’s responsibility to identify suitable accommodation.

 If an employee moves to a new placement under portability arrangements, the receiving employer must identify suitable accommodation options, that meet minimum standards and are approved by DFAT.

 The standards of accommodation approved by DFAT will align with standards under the PALM scheme.

 Accommodation will be subject to ongoing compliance checks.

What is the application process?

The Agriculture visa is not yet available but when it is, the expected process is:

  1. Consult with Work Visa Lawyers to determine if the Agriculture visa is appropriate for your situation.
  2. Gather and compile your documents and information for the application.
  3. Submit the application and supporting documents online using an ImmiAccount. You may also submit an application by post.

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Our team of experience Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.

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Resources

Government of Australia, Minister for Agriculture, Drought & Emergency Management David Littleproud, 16 June 2021, media release, URL:
https://minister.awe.gov.au/littleproud/media-releases/seasonal-agriculture-worker-visa.

Government of Australia, Minister for Agriculture, Drought & Emergency Management David Littleproud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Women, Marisa Payne, 23 August 2021, media release, URL:
https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/marise-payne/media-release/joint-media-release-australian-agriculture-visa

Association of Southeast Asian Nations, URL:
https://asean.org/

Anna Henderson, 16 June 2021, SBS News, “New agricultural visa to be extended to ASEAN countries before end of the year”, URL:
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/new-agricultural-visa-to-be-extended-to-asean-countries-before-end-of-the-year

Naveen Razik, 26 August 2021, SBS News, "New agriculture visa offers path to permanent residency in Australia", URL:
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/new-agriculture-visa-offers-path-to-permanent-residency-in-australia

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