The Australian Government recently announced the Australian Agriculture Visa, a stream of the Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa – Subclass 403. The Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud has said that “The [Australian Agriculture] visa will provide a long-term, reliable workforce for our critical industries…’.
The Australian Agriculture Visa came into effect through amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 on 30 September 2021. Due to COVID-19 and border restrictions, temporary international migrants that previously travelled to supplement the workforce in Australia’s agricultural industries has significantly reduced. The Australian Agriculture Visa is introduced in response to industry needs and to re-commence international recruitment for skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers for the following agricultural industries: meat processing, fishery, and forestry sectors. The visa program and its regulations will be designed through industry consultation and workers will arrive in Australia through a phased approach which will be subject to quarantine arrangements with state governments.
- Only open to Approved Employers who already form part of the Pacific Australian Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme
- Small cohort of agricultural workers dependent on:
- Border restrictions
- Country readiness
- Availability of quarantine
- Increase in the number of agricultural workers participating in the new subclass 403 visa stream
- Expanded number of bi-lateral labour agreements with countries to increase the number of those participating
How will the Government recruit international migrant workers under the new Australian Agriculture Visa scheme?
For Phase 1 of the recruitment process, the Government will invite a small number of countries and Approved Employers who are already part of the Pacific Australian Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme to participate. This ensures that the visa scheme commences with accredited and experienced stakeholders.
The Phase 2 recruitment process will be published at a later date. An update will be provided once further information is released.
Health Waiver – Public Interest Criteria 4005
Australian Values Statement – Public Interest Criteria 4019
How do I apply? Is there a pathway to permanent residency? How many visa places are available?
The Government and the Department of Home Affairs are still working on the details regarding:
- The application process
- Potential pathways to permanent residency
- Number of visa places available
These details are in the process of being determined through industry consultation. Once further information is released, this page will be updated.
The new Agriculture Visa will be made available to citizens from 10 countries in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.
Countries in ASEAN include:
- The Philippines
 The Hon David Littleproud MP Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, ‘History made as AG Worker Visa Created’ Australian Government (Media Release) 1 October 2021 <https://minister.awe.gov.au/littleproud/media-releases/history-made-ag-worker-visa-created>
 Rick Leach, ‘Temporary Migration and COVID-19 Labour Market Considerations’ National Skills Commission – Australian Government 29 June 2021 < https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/news/news-centre/temporary-migration-and-covid-19-labour-market-considerations#_edn8>
 Australian Government, ‘Factsheet: Australian Agriculture Visa (30 September 2021) <https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/australian-agriculture-visa-fact-sheet.pdf>, 1.