Australia in Need of Farmers, Agricultural Workers from Overseas: Report

by Ray Clancy on October 20, 2016

in Australia Immigration, Australia Travel, Immigration Documentation, Jobs in Australia

Australia needs expert farmers and agricultural workers from overseas because they help develop the country’s farming industry, bringing innovation and new skills, according to a new report.

Foreign workers – including seasonal workers and backpackers – also have an important role to play in agriculture in terms of bringing vitality and filling job shortages, says the report by Professor Jock Collins of UTS Business School for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

farmerIt points out that while most immigration to Australia has been to the cities, in the past decade both temporary and permanent new immigrants have been directed to regional and rural Australia.

Collins says that this move has been quite successful, with new skilled immigrants generally filling labour shortages and adding to the productivity and energy of the regional and rural economy.

However, the specific impact and contribution that immigrant farmers and growers, permanent and temporary immigrants settlers and working holiday makers have on the Australian agricultural industry has not been fully investigated.

‘The research illustrates the many different levels at which immigrants play an important role. In terms of skilled labour, immigrant farmers bring not only experience, but innovation and entrepreneurship in techniques and commodities,’ Collins explained.

He pointed out that South African and Zimbabwean farmers have brought water saving technologies, while Asian growers have introduced new products for the food market, explaining that short term workers are significant in filling cyclical labour needs.

‘For example, working holiday makers are a large and mobile workforce helping to meet demand at harvest and providing labour for unpopular jobs,’ he added.

However, the report also points out areas where more work needs to be done to encourage overseas workers. In addition, it encourages greater work towards combatting unscrupulous employers, brokers and labour hire companies whose practices have led to well-publicised instances of low pay, exploitative accommodation arrangements and very unsatisfactory work experiences for a minority of working holiday makers.

‘It is important that these issues inform policy makers to ensure the future viability of such schemes and delivery of labour to rural and regional Australia,’ said Collins.

The research found rural and regional townships very receptive to new immigrants. Collins says the warmth of the welcome in the bush is clear, adding “the majority of workers come away with very positive social and economic experiences.”

The report concludes that agricultural productivity will likely increase as regional and rural Australia opens up its communities and agricultural sector jobs to immigrants.

It also identifies several policy options to increase the number of permanent and temporary immigrants who settle in rural and regional areas, including better targeting of skills to employment shortages, attracting immigrants with sound farming experience and skills, and increasing the number of working holiday makers by promoting longer stays through working in different locations.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Addey Crown October 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

Dear Sir/Ma,
This is NGO groups called Student Teacher and Exchange Programs International {STEP INTL} based in Accra Ghana, We are have many various Professional and Unskilled workers and Skilled workers.

We need to know the requirement{s} needed to meet up Visa Application for Australia on Living and working in Australia because we have huge numbers of skilled and unskilled workers.

Thanks while waiting for your positive response .

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