A new agricultural visa will be offered to occupants from 10 Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN countries) to help Australian farmers harvest their crops, however, the country’s peak farm lobby demands it will possibly trust it when it sees it. Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has vowed to deliver a new agriculture visa within 90 days.
It comes after the Australian government agreed to scrap a necessity for British backpackers to pick fruit before broadening their working holidays, under an in-principle free trade agreement with the UK.
Mr. McCormack guaranteed the resulting labour shortage would be filled by a dedicated agriculture visa made accessible to the United Kingdom and 10 countries across South East Asia.
The deal has been brokered close by the UK free trade agreement (FTA), which will end a prerequisite for British backpackers to deal with Australian farms for 88 days.
As part of the FTA declaration, prime ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson said another two-way visa would be set up between the UK and Australia for farmworkers.
The ABC on Monday uncovered the new visa was the result of negotiations between the Nationals and Prime Minister, which was conditional on the junior Coalition partner agreeing to the FTA.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the decision to scrap the working holiday visa requirement on UK residents would lessen the seasonal workforce by 10,000 people.
He said the deal struck by the Nationals guarantees they will be supplanted, with the making of the new Agricultural Visa category.
Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud affirmed the visa would be accessible to 10 Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN countries) – Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar, Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia.
“I have an undertaking from the Prime Minister as a condition of my support, and the National Party’s support for this [free trade] agreement, to have it up and going before the end of the year,” Mr. Littleproud said.
“We have a strong commitment from the Prime Minister, we made it clear when I negotiated this … this is a line we couldn’t cross if we were to try and trade away seasonal workers at a time of shortage, it just didn’t make sense.
“The Prime Minister himself has made a promise to the [National Farmers Federation] in 2019, that said we would work to an ag visa, so we are living up to our commitment.”
National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson said the government had since a long time ago guaranteed an ag visa however was at this point to deliver it.
“We’ve had these promises for years now. It’s time to deliver,” she told the ABC.
Mr. Littleproud said once his Coalition partners “saw … the National Party’s point of view, it was common sense”.
Be that as it may, he said taking part in countries would have to select into the visa program, and it was unclear the number of laborers the program could attract.
British backpackers make up about a quarter of the backpacker farm workforce, with around 10,000 Brits working on Australian farms every year.
Mr. Littleproud said the new visa should select more than 10,000 workers every year.
“It will be for three years, and they will have six to nine months’ worth of work,” he said.
“[They] must go back [to their home country] for three months of the year, each year over the three years.
“This is a great step, it’s formalized an ag visa, once we put in a baseline of these 10 ASEAN nations, we can then look to add other countries into the future.”
Mr. Littleproud said the visa would have various conditions to the Pacific labor and seasonal worker schemes.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson sealed their in-principle trade agreement in London this week, yet the final version of the deal actually should be backed in parliament.
Mr. Littleproud said he was confident the transition to the new deal, to occur over a five-year period, will deliver a considerably greater workforce than was beforehand accessible under the visa plans.
The visa necessities on British holiday producers were a staying point in the free trade negotiations, and Australians traveling to the UK don’t have similar obligations to go to regional regions working in regions like agriculture to stay there beyond a single year.