The Department of Home Affairs, Australia’s immigration department, has announced significant changes that will primarily affect backpackers to Australia and allow farmers to receive more seasonal workers
These new visa programs that will assist farmers to access a larger number of overseas workers.
Changes to Working Holiday Maker visas
- Work and Holiday makers (subclass 462) will be able to undertake regional plant and animal cultivation work in additional priority areas to become eligible for a second visa.
- Extension of the period a WHM (subclass 417 and 462) may work with the same agricultural employer from six to 12 months.
Introduction of a third year visa option for WHM (subclasses 417 and 462), who from 1 July 2019 onwards complete six months of regional work in the second year.
- Increase the number of places available for Work and Holiday Maker program (subclass 462) by lifting annual caps available to a number of countries participating in the subclass 462 visa program.
These changes require a strict workforce test to be applied to ensure Australian workers are given the first opportunity for work.
Changes to the Seasonal Worker Program
- Increase work period in Australia to nine months for all workers (currently six months for some countries).
- Increase validity of labour market testing prior to recruiting workers from three to six months.
- Reduce out of pocket expenses for employers (workers repay their full travel costs except for the first $300; a reduction from the previous $500).
Please see here for a link to the official press release: https://www.mia.org.au/documents/item/1449