The program to encourage people living on welfare to work on farms has been declared a failure. This has put the Morrison Govt. under pressure to create a new Agriculture Visa in Australia. The demand for a dedicated visa for Agriculture has been growing in Australia to meet the shortage of labor.
The Seasonal Work Incentives Trial, a 2-year program, has so far only placed 333 people. With only six months left, it has fallen short of its 7,600 places. In these two years, the take-up rate has only been around 4 or 5 percent.
Ben Rogers of National Farmers’ Federation has deemed the program a failure. He says that local seasonal workers are not interested in taking up harvest jobs.
PM Scott Morrison had even warned that benefits would be reduced for people if they did not take up local jobs. The program also offers a cash incentive of $5,000 to people who took up harvest jobs. Though the program was aggressively promoted by the Dept. of Jobs, it has not worked so far.
There is a huge demand for labor in Australian farms. So far, this program has failed to meet this demand.
Changes to the seasonal worker and backpacker visas were announced in November for the lack of a dedicated Agriculture Visa. The changes allowed visa holders to work in regional areas for more than 6 months. They could also get an extra year if they took up farm jobs. The relaxation of the seasonal workers Visa allowed Pacific workers to work in Australian farms for 3 months.
However, none of these visa changes were able to address the challenges of the harvest season. This has given rise to the demand for a new Agriculture Visa in Australia. The National Farmers Federation also agreed that a long-term solution was needed, as per ABC News.
The Govt. has now asked farmers to register their needs with the National Harvest Labor Information Service. This would help the govt. to identify the shortage areas. This would help the Australian Govt. to tailor a new Agriculture Visa around these shortage areas.
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