There are little details about the new agriculture visa but industry remains hopeful

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The agriculture visa is intended to create an opportunity for workers in farming, fisheries, forestry and meat processing to take up skilled and un-skilled jobs that can’t be filled domestically.

The government says it will consider making the new visa a pathway to permanent residency, but that’s no guarantee.

The government is set to hold bilateral talks with countries that might be involved and find out what they might expect of the visa in return.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has previously suggested the UK and ASEAN nations as targets for the visa.

Grain growers, desperate for workers that can operate specialist machinery, hope North American and European countries will also agree.

These negotiations will determine much about how the visa will work.

Flight caps next major hurdle

The success of the visa will also depend on the ability of workers to access flights.

Under current flight caps, just 3,000 people are allowed into Australia each week.

Assuming the flight issue can be overcome, quarantine is another hurdle in Australia right now.

More unknowns than knowns

What we know is that the visa will be operated and overseen by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

But what’s still unknown is how closely the new visa could resemble existing Pacific labour programs, or what safeguards will be put in place to ensure it doesn’t undermine those programs.

We do not if and when workers will arrive, and the Opposition is seeking assurances that workers from overseas won’t be exploited.

Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals deputy leader says by initially using a subsection of the pre-existing 403 visa, foreigners could have their boots on the ground after September 30, although he “is cautious not to put an exact date when we’ll see the first workers”.

He also won’t put a number on how many workers are expected to take up the visa, opting for a “demand-driven approach”.

Again, it is unclear how that will be measured.

Source: ABC News

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