Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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Aussie Farmers Need Backpackers, but Backpackers Might Not Need Farmers Following Visa Changes

Farm groups are not at all happy with the federal government’s changes to the structure of the working holiday maker (WHM) visa, saying it places Australia’s food production in jeopardy and adds to labour shortage woes.

Visa holders working in the tourism and hospitality sectors in northern, remote and very remote areas of Australia will be able to count this towards eligibility for a second or third year extension without completing farm work.

The government said the option would be available to those applying from March 2022, but it would take into account work already being done in those areas from June 22nd.

The 88-day farm-work rule for some visa extensions will be relaxed, with farmers saying it will further reduce available labour. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has been urged to review his decision.

This goes further with the Mining sector in Australia now suffering from severe skills shortages due to both COVID and many of the workforce returning back to their original country. Delays across all sectors are set to continue until such time as COVID ends, borders open and migration pathways are open.

Once borders do open, we would expect to see an influx of labour to the market, however, what work they undertake will be driven by flexibility and market demand for labour.

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