3 March, 2022
Ag visa fails to attract new workers
The Australian Workers Union has claimed that the Ag Visa had failed to attract workers to farms.
Australian Agriculture Visa program has been introduced
to address workforce shortages in the agriculture
sector. It is a stream of the temporary work (international
relations) subclass 403 visa.
The program delivers on the government’s commitment
to put in place a broad ranging visa to support the
growth of Australia’s agricultural industries, and is
available to employees across a range of agricultural
sectors and skill levels.
However, NSW Farmers believes that the workers
union ignored the impact that COVID-19 has had on
NSW Farmers vice-president Xavier Martin said
Australians needed to work together to rebuild the economy
and workforce out of COVID.
“Our food does not grow, pick and process itself —
we have had two years of workforce shortages impacting
food supply in this country,” said Mr Martin.
“We need to work together to find ways to get more
farm workers, not fewer, because any action that
impacts agricultural labour supply will ultimately cost
us all by limiting the food we can produce.”
jobs are seasonal – some for only a few weeks at a time
– and until COVID-19 brought an end to international
travel many were filled by backpackers and short-term
Mr Martin said NSW Farmers was actively advocating
for more agricultural skills training for Australians,
but a holistic approach was needed to ensure the sector
could continue to grow and harvest our food.
“The Ag Visa is just one part of a broader strategy
to resolve the workforce crisis facing the sector,” said
“Attraction, training and retention of Australian
workers is part of the solution, but so too is attraction of
international workers because the reality is that there are
seasonal jobs that Australians are just not attracted to
“I’m hopeful we’ll find proactive solutions to these
challenges, and avoid politicisation of this important
As of December 2021, no one had taken up the visa.