On the final day of 2021, Australian farmers could be forgiven for questioning, “The place is the ag visa?”
- The agriculture visa was first introduced in June 2021
- Minister David Littleproud says the ag visa “got here into impact” on October 1
- No employees have arrived underneath the visa but, as a result of no international locations have signed as much as it
For the higher a part of this 12 months, the federal authorities has been talking up its new visa, designed to herald abroad employees to assist repair labour shortages inside Australian agriculture.
In response to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the ag visa “got here into impact” on October 1 following amendments to migration laws.
Nonetheless, three months on, no abroad employees have arrived underneath the brand new scheme.
Mr Littleproud mentioned it was now a matter for the Division of International Affairs and Commerce (DFAT).
“All we’re ready on now are the bilateral [agreements] with a lot of South-East Asian international locations that [Foreign Affairs Minister] Marise Payne is negotiating,” he advised Sky Information.
“We’re hoping and we’re very assured that very quickly she’ll finalise these bilaterals.
Mr Littleproud mentioned the federal government had anticipated international locations to have signed as much as the ag visa by Christmas, however now anticipated that to happen in January.
Northern Territory Farmers Affiliation chief govt Paul Burke mentioned, regardless of loads of guarantees, the trade had been sceptical the ag visa could be prepared earlier than Christmas.
“There was a major quantity of labor that wanted to be performed in taking part international locations … however I might now be actually stunned if the primary visas aren’t issued by February or March [next year],” he mentioned.
“The NT has put its hand as much as be the pilot program for this visa, like we had been for the restart of the seasonal worker program.”
NT Cattlemen’s Affiliation chief govt Will Evans mentioned he was “cautiously optimistic” the visa would ship ends in 2022.
“I feel we would mirror a number of the scepticism round a number of the particulars with this [visa],” he mentioned.
“Discovering a regional workforce has been a large problem for us, particularly for a few of our distant cattle stations, and the truth of getting no backpackers has been a problem.