The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) calls on the government to implement a trial of the seasonal farm worker visa by the end of this year, with a focus on meeting
employment standards to ensure the well-being of workers.
An overview for a seasonal agricultural worker visa offered by AFPA recommended strong requirements, including adherence to existing ethical sourcing programs, labor market testing and
provide future visa holders with copies of employment contracts outlining the relevant terms and conditions.
âThere are very few details on the seasonal agricultural worker visa that has been released, but our proposal has focused on ensuring that there are strict employer sponsorship requirements to ensure that only compliant employers can access the visa program, âsaid AFPA CEO Michael Rogers. .
The standards proposed by AFPA are similar to those required for registered employers under the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Work Program currently available to a number of employers.
Network of good practices
âWhat we would like to see developed under a seasonal agricultural worker visa is a network of best practice, registered employers who meet high standards. In this type of setting, visa holders
would be able to move between a known network of compliant employers. This complements existing Pacific labor mobility programs without compromising standards, âsaid Rogers.
AFPA’s seasonal agricultural worker visa proposal also includes strong criteria for potential visa holders including English language proficiency and a certificate completed in the native language that demonstrates an understanding of the Australian agricultural industry, employment standards and complaints procedures.
âThe goal of the Seasonal Farm Worker Visa from an industry perspective is to reduce reliance on backpackers and engage with a cohort of workers who want to do farm work in Australia. As part of this, it is important that future visa holders have access to information and are trained and certified in various topics relevant to their work in Australia.
Australia’s fresh produce industry is in the midst of a workforce restructuring and the adoption of new workforce planning and management. Strong and enforceable employment standards in both
The Pacific programs and the Seasonal Farm Worker Visa will support the continued growth of the industry and help further develop a productive and returning workforce, âRogers said.
The proposed AFPA for a seasonal agricultural worker visa is available here.