Employers Urged Not To Wait Specifically For The Ag Visa
The Australian government is urging horticulture workers not to delay worker recruitment strategies to wait on the introduction of the ‘Ag Visa’.
The Australian Agriculture Visa program was announced last year, with the aim of addressing workforce shortages in the sector and trying to build a stable and sustainable workforce into the future. But Michael Ryan from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) explains that the process of trying to get the new program off of the ground is taking time.
“We have commenced discussions with several South-East Asian countries, and recruitment should start shortly after the negotiations complete,” he said. “It is a new program and the parameters are being carefully considered in the bilateral discussions and there is an extensive exchange of information about our system of process and their system of processes. A lot of these countries are experienced in sending labour and they have their own requirements and institutions built up around that, and working through that and coming to an understanding about how that moves forward is taking some time. One of the key messages is that if you need labour, don’t delay recruitment actions to wait for the Agriculture Visa. There are other alternative sources such as the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme which has a large pool to work from and established pathways to bring people in. When the Ag Visa starts up, there is a small group of employers who will be the initial people we work with. We will use the initial phase to test our systems and process and gradually ramp up the program and expand it. But I want to reiterate, the importance of planning your workforce and not delaying recruitment to wait for the Ag Visa. You need to act on your needs as they arise.”