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Cotton Industry in Crisis over Labour Shortage

Cotton Industry in Crisis over Labour Shortage

2022-01-21

The cotton sector in Australia has suggested that changes to migration restrictions to allow a new visa may result in a lack of international agricultural workers. The current Australian Agriculture Worker Visa, which was introduced in September, is intended to increase the number of primary industry workers. Cotton Australia, on the other hand, claims that it may result in fewer jobs. The requirements for British backpackers to work for 88 days in remote areas in order to gain visa extensions are scheduled to be phased down.

Changes to migration regulations to allow a new visa may result in a shortage of international agricultural workers, according to Australia’s cotton industry. The current Australian Agriculture Worker Visa, which was established in September, aims to boost the number of employees in the primary industry. Cotton Australia, on the other hand, claims that it could lead to fewer jobs. The requirement for British backpackers to labour in distant places for 88 days in order to obtain visa renewals is set to be phased out.

Rather, it is aimed at workers from Southeast Asian countries. “Historically, the industry has not attracted workers from those countries,” Mr Kay explained. “We appreciate the government’s efforts in the Pacific, but there are still immediate and medium-term concerns that must be addressed in order to support farmers.” The AgVisa will be offered to skilled and semi-skilled employees in the fishery, forestry, meat processing, and agricultural processing industries. It is similar to the Pacific Labour Scheme, which will remain the primary scheme for meeting agricultural workforce shortages, such as harvests. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has said it will “bring the next generations of migrants to not just grow agriculture but regional Australia.”

Cotton Australia (CA) has launched a new online service ‘Cotton Jobs Australia’ to solve one of the industry’s most enduring challenges – the shortage of seasonal workers. The service will connect growers with prospective employees by enabling them to post jobs they need filling, and then accept applications for those jobs through a simple online form. The new platform has been developed by Cotton Australia with funding assistance from the Queensland government.

Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)