Changes to farm worker visas during COVID-19

The Federal Government is making changes to temporary visa conditions, in a bid to increase the amount of workers in the farming sector.

Student visa holders will now be permitted to work more than the usual 40 hours per fortnight during semesters if they are working in agriculture.

This follows similar changes for international students working in the health and aged care sectors made in November 2020.

Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said this was designed to address shortages of farm workers during the pandemic.

“Many regions are expecting bumper crops this year, but with COVID-19 travel restrictions international movement, there still aren’t enough workers available.
“This complements a range of other workforce measures we are delivering to support farmers this harvest season.”

It will also be easier for temporary visa holders to access the COVID-19 Pandemic Event visa, if they choose to work in the agriculture sector.

Temporary visa holders can now apply for the COVID-19 visa up to 90 days before their existing visa runs out and do not need to demonstrate their attempts to leave Australia.

More than 5,600 COVID-19 Pandemic event visas have already been granted to support the agriculture sector since April 2020.

More at the Department of Home Affairs or the government’s Harvest page.

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