New Australia Agriculture Worker (AAW) Visa approved by parliament

A new Australian Agriculture Worker (AAW) Visa has been approved by the federal parliament.  This new visa class was created to help alleviate critical workforce shortages across Australia’s entire Agriculture sector

On 30 September 2021 the Australian Government amended the Migration regulations to create a new Australian Agriculture Visa for skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers across a broad range of agricultural industries, including farming, meat processing, fishing, and forestry.

The Australian government is still developing the visa application process and has announced that the new AAW visa will become available to selected applicants towards the end of 2021.

Main Australian Agriculture Worker Visa FAQs:

Based on the latest legislative amendments and government announcements, this is what we know so far about the new Agriculture Visa:

Who will be able to apply for an Agriculture Visa?

Skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers seeking employment in agricultural industries, including meat processing, commercial fishing, and forestry.

Initially, agricultural workers from selected countries will be invited to participate in the Australian Agricultural Workers Program (AAWP).  This will most likely be pacific island and then southeast Asian countries. Overtime more countries will be invited to participate.

Specific eligibility criteria are still being developed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

What conditions will come with an Agriculture Visa?

Each agriculture worker will need to be sponsored by an Australian Business.  The Australian Agriculture business will need to show that it is experiencing a critical worker shortage and be pre-approved by the DHA.  The business will be responsible for the welfare of their workers.

After the Australian business has been approved it will be able to invite an overseas international worker to apply for a Temporary Work (subclass 403) visa.

Workers will need to be offshore when they apply for their AAW visa unless they already hold a 403 Visa.

The visa holder will need to work for the business that is sponsoring them.  They may be able to move to another approved agricultural business if this transfer between sponsors is approved by the DHA.

The AAW visa will likely be granted for more than 12 months with the worker being permitted to stay in Australia for up to 10 months each year.

When will Agricultural Visa holders start arriving in Australia?

The initial arrival of Agricultural works from selected countries is anticipated to start in December 2021.

How can Agricultural businesses employ Agriculture Visa Holders?

Initially only preselected agricultural businesses, ones that have been approved to employ pacific island workers, will be permitted to employer Agriculture Visa holders.

From April 2022, as more Agriculture workers arrive, additional businesses will be able to apply to the DHA to employ Agriculture Visa holders.

Will Agriculture Visa Holders be able to apply for Permanent Residency?

Maybe. The Government has committed to considering permanent residency pathways for Agriculture Visa holders.   The government has indicated that it will announce its policy about permanent residency pathway options by the end of 2021.

Any Australian Agricultural businesses hoping to participate in this new Agriculture Visa program should begin the process of applying for DHA sponsorship approval.  If you have any questions about this process, Contact Us for more information. Our team is looking forward to hearing from you.