Farmers hope to start new year with agriculture visa workers, but there are stumbling blocks

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For the better part of last year, the federal government has been talking up its new visa, designed to bring in overseas workers to help fix labour shortages within Australian agriculture.

According to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the ag visa “came into effect” on October 1 following amendments to migration regulations.

However, three months on, no overseas workers have arrived under the new scheme.

Mr Littleproud said it was now a matter for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

“All we’re waiting on now are the bilateral [agreements] with a number of South-East Asian countries that [Foreign Affairs Minister] Marise Payne is negotiating,” he told Sky News.

“We’re hoping and we’re very confident that very soon she’ll finalise those bilaterals.

“But you have to appreciate that these countries have to agree to it. Just because Australia arrogantly puts out an ag visa, doesn’t mean everyone signs up to it.”

Northern Territory Farmers Association chief executive Paul Burke said: “The NT has put its hand up to be the pilot program for this visa, like we were for the restart of the seasonal worker program.”

NT Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Will Evans said he was “cautiously optimistic” the visa would deliver results in 2022.


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