According to new UK Australia FTA agreement, British citizens will get three years in their working holiday visas and the age limit has increased from 30 years to 35 years. Australia dropped the previous condition where British citizens with a one year working visa could extend their visa for another one year if they spend 88 days working in an agricultural sector.
A seasonal agricultural visa is agreed to be offered in both countries which will allow a farm worker to work in Australia and Britain. A bigger visa scheme for regional area is due to be disclosed later this week to address the low number of farms workers.
Australia must look for another source of seasonal workers if working visa does not require British citizen to work in agricultural field in regional Australia.
Australia-UK FTA gets crucial thumbs-up from farmers
In the past decade both sides had tightened up on their visa regimes, so the new agreement is expected to boost the labor mobility. The agreement states the total years of UK working visa for Australians to be increased from two years to three years and the maximum age of a person to apply for working visa is to be increased from thirty years to thirty-five years. However, Britain’s mobility program for Australians is usually not enough to meet the labor demand.
ASEAN visa scheme to tackle farm labor crisis
There is a growing shortage of farm workers which will be further aggravated by Free trade agreement with United Kingdom. To tackle this farm labor crisis, a new visa scheme is introduced which will recruit agricultural workers from ten south east Asian nations. The free trade deal signed with UK on 15th June 2021 will also include a new agriculture visa for British Workers. The new visa scheme was demanded by the nationals to fill the labor shortage of ten thousand farm workers each year. Labor shortage is already a critical situation in Australia caused by the global pandemic. According to the source, the new scheme will be targeted to the countries associated to the association of South-east Asian Nation (ASEAN) which comprises of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The details are not yet finalized for the visa scheme but is intended to be in effect by September for harvesting season. This would add to 25,000 workers brought by the pacific island labor scheme to take up seasonal work in Australia. One of the major points in the agreement was to take out the visa condition of extending working holiday visa by another year if visa holders worked in agriculture sector for 88 days, which Australia agreed and would lead up to the shortage of farm workers by 10,000 each year. Before the global pandemic, 160,000 backpackers were working as farm workers among which 10,000 were from UK, now total farm workers have gone down to 40,000 making the situation very critical for agriculture sector.
Agribusiness employers can contact us to strategically plan short to long term options using visas to meet current skilled labour force shortages