On 23 August 2021, the
Government announced the Australian Agriculture visa to address workforce shortages in the agriculture sector.
The Australian Agriculture visa is being designed for primary industry sectors including horticulture, meat processing, dairy, wool, grains, fisheries (including aquaculture) and forestry.
The program will be operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, leveraging their experience managing the successful Pacific Labour Scheme.
Seasonal Worker Programme and
Pacific Labour Scheme will remain the priority source of temporary migrant workers for Australia’s agriculture sector. The Australian Agriculture visa will address any labour gaps that cannot be filled by Australian and Pacific labour.
Availability of the Australian Agriculture visa
Building on the successful Pacific labour programs, the Government is working closely with industry to design the program.
The Australian Agriculture visa will be open to applicants from a range of countries, negotiated through bilateral agreements. The first workers will arrive once negotiations with sending countries and quarantine arrangements are agreed and finalised.
The legislative framework for the Australian Agriculture visa commenced on 30 Sept 2021.
Country eligibility for the Australian Agriculture visa
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will start bilateral negotiations with selected countries to participate in the Australian Agriculture Worker program.
Additional countries will be added over time.
Recruiting workers under the new visa
The Government will make further announcements on program details including the application process for employers, following formal consultation with industry. This began immediately after the Government’s announcement.
Applying for the new visa
Details on how to apply, and eligibility requirements, will be determined through the program design process in consultation with industry.
Information on how to apply for the visa will be published on the Department of Home Affairs website when the process has been finalised.
Access to a permanent residence pathway
The Government has committed to exploring permanent residence pathways for participants in the program, including regional settlement. However, this will involve significant further consultation and design work.
Recruiting workers for upcoming harvests
The Pacific labour programs will remain the priority source of temporary migrant workers for Australia’s agriculture sector.
The Government’s commitment to double the number of Pacific workers to 25,000 in Australia by March 2022 means that there will be more workers available to fill critical workforce shortages for the upcoming harvest seasons.
For more information and updates refer to
The Australian Agriculture Visa