Farming Labour Shortages Continue, Despite Working Holiday Visa Surges

Farming Labour Shortages Continue, Despite Working Holiday Visa Surges

While the department of home affairs has reported granting up to 31,000 visas to permitted travellers since December 15th 2021, significant labour shortages are still being seen across the agricultural industry.

Farmers across the state have welcomed the return of backpackers and working visa holders to resource labour shortages that have been seen due to covid-19. While Australian farmers understood that this event wouldn’t bring their labour numbers back to pre-covid times, there is still the fear that these current numbers won’t be applied to supply enough relief for fruit and vegetable farmers.

Holiday Visa Itinerary

Before covid restrictions in Australia, the horticultural industry was reported to have employed up to 45,000 overseas workers a year. While a slow drip of overseas workers has started to flow into Australia’s agricultural sector, there are still worries that these workers will spend their time relaxing, leaving the work shortages on farms to be extended again.

With many of these overseas labourers being first and foremost travellers, the location and area they’ll work in are important. The reality is that many working visa holders will travel to beaches and popular destinations first before getting in their 88 days of work. Making this slow drip of labourers more of a dribble.

The Fear of Free Trade

With free trade rules being brought in place for England, there’s another fear on the rise for Australian farmers. This new trade deal saw English backpackers becoming exempt from the 88-day working requirement in place. This seemingly small change essentially removes nearly 10,000 backpackers from the agricultural workforce.

For most farmers, the future looks dim in solving the current labour shortage. With expectations heading towards the European Union asking for the same treatment, an even larger majority of backpackers would be lost to Australian farmers.

There is still hope, with an agricultural visa being announced last year. It’s been suggested that these new visa holders would counter the reduction of backpack labour, with promises that this new visa would bring foreign workers to Australian farms before Christmas last year.

Find the Perfect Fruit Picking Job at Pick GV

Pick GV can help your farm connect with fruit pickers and labourers, whether they’re Australian residents or working holiday visa holders. Using our platform, you’ll be able to connect with hundreds of agricultural labourers looking for seasonal or permanent work to decrease the shortages on your farm.

If you’re an agricultural business owner or an individual who wants to take on a fruit picking job this harvest season or want to learn more about the different harvest periods across the Goulburn Valley region, make sure to visit our website today.