Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
According to many experts linked to the agricultural industry, Australia’s temporary migration system is “broken” and thus allows the exploitation of foreign workers to flourish, according to the findings of a parliamentary inquiry. The review was set up two years ago to examine the impact of temporary migration on the economy, jobs, and workplace rights after a series of wage theft scandals. Hari Yellina, of Orchard Tech, evaluated that Australia possessed the second-largest temporary workforce in the OECD.
With international borders closed, the pandemic has totally exposed the dependence of the Australian economy on temporary migration. Therefore, the news of a broken system that is failing to deliver for those that need it is spreading like rapid fire. The inquiry has made 40 recommendations, including granting new powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman, increasing penalties for wage theft, and banning dodgy operators from hiring temporary workers.
The new agriculture visa will support the recruitment of workers for the broad range of Australian agricultural industries, as well as the meat processing, fishery and forestry sectors. Particular occupations may be specified as more details of the program are confirmed in consultation with the industry. The Pacific will remain the key pathway for the sector to access workers for this harvest, with the government committing to double the number of Pacific workers in Australia by March 2022. The regulation provides a new Australian Agriculture Worker stream which will provide for the entry and temporary stay of workers across primary industries sectors.