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Farmers Oppose Changes To Work Visas

Photo: Richard McIntyre/Rural News Group

Farmers are expressing discontent over the government's recent changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme this week, Rural News reported on 12 April.

Richard McIntyre, dairy chair and immigration spokesperson for Federated Farmers, has expressed concern and confusion over the changes, stating that they will make it significantly harder for farmers to recruit staff from overseas.

The alterations include a reduction in visa length to two years, with a maximum stay of three years, and the introduction of a 12-month stand-down period at the visa's end. Additionally, new minimum requirements for skills, work experience, job advertising, and engagement with Work and Income have been imposed.

McIntyre has criticised these changes, claiming that they will create unforeseen challenges for farmers, potentially leading to staff shortages that could impact health and safety, mental well-being, and animal welfare on farms.

Federated Farmers has written to Immigration Minister Erica Stanford to express their concerns and request an urgent meeting to address the issues.

The changes primarily affect migrant workers in ANZSCO Level 4 and 5 roles and took effect from 7 April 2024. They include a shorter visa length of two years, a 12-month stand-down period at the visa's end, an English language requirement, minimum skills and work experience criteria, longer job advertising periods (increasing from 14 to 21 days), and engagement with Work and Income.



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