In the past few years, the federal government did not focus on a policy commitment towards an agricultural visa for farmworkers. This was even after the National Party showed strong interest in the concoction of the visa. Instead, just days before the visa was announced on the sidelines of a post-Brexit free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom, a departmental briefing on the establishment of an agriculture visa was provided to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
That briefing took place the day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison left Australia for the UK. It has since emerged this was the first briefing on an agriculture visa to the Agriculture Minister since September 11, 2018. Since the June announcement, few details have emerged about how the agricultural visa might work, with Mr Littleproud insisting it would be operational before the end of this year.
As part of the FTA announcement, prime ministers Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson said a new two-way agricultural visa would be established between the UK and Australia for farmworkers. Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud confirmed the visa would be available to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Brunei and Cambodia.
British backpackers make up about a quarter of the backpacker farm workforce, with about 10,000 Brits working on Australian farms each year. Mr Littleproud said the new visa must recruit more than 10,000 workers a year. The details are still being worked out, however, it seems that some details are still being worked out. The announcement and the start date of an agricultural visa, specific for agriculture, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled will be well before Christmas, it will be up and running well before Christmas. This comes as a relief for the agricultural workers wanting to work in Australia.